Protesters Mob Virginia Governor Candidate as he Defends Confederate Statue

Surrounded by protesters, Corey Stewart records a Facebook Live video defending a Charlottesville Confederate statue with Thaddeus Alexander, whose Facebook video railing against liberal demonstrators went viral. (Fenit Nirappi/The Washington Post)
Surrounded by protesters, Corey Stewart records a Facebook Live video defending a Charlottesville Confederate statue with Thaddeus Alexander, whose Facebook video railing against liberal demonstrators went viral. (Fenit Nirappi/The Washington Post)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart came to this town to defend its statue of Robert E. Lee in a downtown park, only to be swarmed by dozens of protesters who shouted him down everywhere he went.

It was the harshest reception yet for the provocative chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who is campaigning for the GOP nomination for governor as Virginia’s Donald Trump, with a hard-line stance against illegal immigration.

A divided Charlottesville City Council’s decision last week to remove the statue of the Confederate general gave Stewart an opening to appeal to his base. On social media, he urged people to “defend Virginia’s heritage,” likening those who wanted to remove the statue to tyrants and Nazis.

But when he tried to take his message to this college town Saturday morning, protesters shouting “White supremacy has got to go!” drowned out his interviews and conversations.

Stewart took it in stride, frequently grinning and trying to chat up his detractors. In an interview, Stewart welcomed the protests and the attention they would bring, believing they would buttress his pitch as a conservative standing up to an intolerant left and “political correctness.”

“I am calling them out for who they are,” Stewart said. “It’s really a symptom of the problem of the left and their unwillingness to listen to alternative points of view.”

He recorded a Facebook Live video with Thaddeus Dionne Alexander, an African American veteran who became a conservative star online after his Facebook video railing against liberal protesters went viral.

Their latest video ran a little more than two minutes and had racked up more than 13,000 views by 3 p.m.

“They have no respect for our heritage,” Stewart said over shouts in the video. “They have no respect not only to Robert E. Lee, a great American, but they have no respect for Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington or any of the other great American and Virginia heroes.”

The demonstrators continued to follow Stewart, hoisting signs saying “Ban Bigots” and “No tolerance for white supremacy” over his head as they yelled at him to go back to Prince William.

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SOURCE: Fenit Nirappil 
The Washington Post