Ed Gillespie is starting to embrace his inner ‘Donald Trump’

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Written by Brandon Jarvis

Today Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor, announced that he will crackdown on sanctuary cities and gang violence.  While we can all agree that a reduction in gang violence is something that any viable candidate should want, the sanctuary city notion is a little more complicated.  First of all, in the first debate against Ralph Northam 5 days ago, both candidates agreed that Virginia does not have any ‘Sanctuary Cities’.  How can he then crackdown on something that he just stated 5 days ago does even exist?

I recognize what Gillespie is trying to achieve politically.  He nearly lost the primary to Corey Stewart, a candidate that essentially mirrored Donald Trump’s world view and lack of ideology.  Specifically, wanting to tighten up immigration while using Trump’s rhetoric on the trail against Gillespie.  Gillespie is trying to appeal to the Stewart voters without losing the moderate conservative vote.  This is a very tight rope for him to try and navigate across.  That same tight walk is currently on the world stage with the current healthcare debate.  Sources are saying that after the tight primary battle, the GOP at all levels has been encouraging Gillespie to hear out Trump strategists.  It appears that he may be beginning to listen.

Gillespie used this press conference addressing gang violence while trying to tie it to illegal immigration. This is a big GOP platform that will help him attract some of the more conservative voters.  He later tweeted part of his plan is to give pay raises to law enforcement.  The GOP base will love to get behind that notion.

Donald Trump will be in Long Island on Friday to address the recent MS-13 gang violence and arrests that have been made.   Today, Gillespie zoned in on MS-13 while discussing gang violence.

“Job number one is eradicating gangs and rewarding those who keep up safer.”  He then tied immigration to gang violence again.  “If someone is here illegally and they commit a crime, they will be deported.”

“A lot of those involved in [MS-13] are here illegally,” Gillespie said. “We cannot allow for the establishment of sanctuary cities.”

Northam agrees with several of Gillespie’s proposals regarding law enforcement, including higher wages for state police (a pay raise was in this year’s budget) and a return of Project Exile, a program that began in Richmond in 1997 and shifted the prosecution of illegal gun possession from the state to federal court, which had a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison.

However, a Northam spokesman stated that a disproportionate amount of African Americans were arrested under project exile.  Gillespie also addressed this with a vague statement.  “I talked about disparities in arrests and convictions, and it’s something I’m very aware of and cautious of,”

After the press conference, a journalist from the Washington Post posted a story titled “In nod to conservative base, Gillespie urges ‘eradicating’ gangs and sanctuary cities”  Gillespie then responded in a garden-variety Donald Trump molded tweet.

Donald Trump has built a following from his off-the-cuff response to media stories that he doesn’t deem fair to him.


By Brandon Jarvis



*****Related *****

Gillespie recently retweeted the GOP Attorney General candidate’s tweet stating that he will be working with Sheriffs across the Commonwealth to combat the opioid crisis.

The Republicans are currently trying to push a bill through the senate that would strip essential funding for fighting the opioid crisis.  A bill that Gillespie has refused to address his opinion on while on the campaign trail. It appears that Gillespie believes that the “crime” that opioid users are committing should be handled by the police, and not medical professionals.

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