Stewart’s folly: Virginia’s top Trump plumper steps in it again

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Donald Trump’s campaign steps away from his state co-chair Corey Stewart’s comments that Hillary Clinton and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam were responsible for the Dallas police shootings.
Photo Gage Skidmore/flic.kr/ Donald Trump’s campaign steps away from his state co-chair Corey Stewart’s comments that Hillary Clinton and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam were responsible for the Dallas police shootings. Photo Gage Skidmore/flic.kr/

They say you can tell a great deal about a man by the company he keeps. As with almost everything else about Donald Trump, this rule of thumb does not cast him in a very favorable light. From his long-acknowledged business dealings with mafia bosses like Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno (“These guys were excellent contractors,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. “They were phenomenal. They could do three floors a week in concrete. Nobody else in the world could do three floors a week.”) to his ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly manhandled a female reporter, Trump’s universe seems to be filled with a misanthropic menagerie of criminals and cretins.

Which brings us, of course, to the other Corey in Trump’s orbit, Virginia’s very own Corey Stewart, who is the campaign’s state co-chair (as well as chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and a long-shot candidate for governor). When Trump first picked Stewart to chair his Virginia campaign, the pairing made perfect sense. Although the two had reportedly never met, their worldviews seem remarkably similar, especially when it comes to the issue of immigration.

Despite being married to a Swedish native, Stewart has a long history of fighting against “illegal immigration,” and has made the issue central to his political persona. In 2007, for example, he was instrumental in pushing through a sweeping anti-immigrant policy in Prince William County that required county police officers to check the immigration status of every single arrestee. This record obviously dovetails nicely with Trump’s pledge to build a giant wall along America’s southern border and deport every undocumented immigrant in the nation. And thus a beautiful friendship was born.

But the one thing the Trump campaign didn’t count on is that Stewart, much like Trump himself, has little to no filter between his brain and his mouth, and a disastrous penchant for posting idiotic things online. This particular bad habit was on full display following the tragic killing of five police officers by an unhinged sniper in Dallas. Faced with this horrific event, a normal politician would simply decry the senseless tragedy, voice condolences and support for the fallen officers and their loved ones and then maintain a respectful silence. But Stewart isn’t a normal politician (or a particularly normal human being, apparently). And so instead he took to Facebook and posted a number of incendiary messages, including his opinion that “liberal politicians who label police as racists—specifically Hillary Clinton and Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam—are to blame for essentially encouraging the murder of these police officers tonight.”

This was so egregious and wrongheaded that even the Trump campaign—not exactly known for subtlety when it comes to social media—felt the need to disavow him, immediately enlisting Stewart’s co-chair, conservative radio host Jeff Fredericks, to emphatically explain that “Corey Stewart’s comments are his own. They have nothing to do with the Trump campaign.”

Good going, brainiac. You are officially so ill-tempered and extreme that even Donald Trump, the most openly racist presidential contender since Strom Thurmond, wants nothing to do with you. Better start handing out those “Trump campaign co-chair” business cards to every stranger you meet, because something tells us they’re not going to be good for much longer.

Odd Dominion is an unabashedly liberal, twice-monthly op-ed column covering Virginia politics.

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