THE MORNING PLUM:
President Trump appeared awfully eager to throw his support to Corey Stewart, the new GOP nominee for Senate in Virginia, despite the fact that he is an apologist for white supremacy who has been condemned by other Republicans. Trump, arriving back from abroad, tweeted his support for Stewart at 5:55 a.m., wishing him “Congratulations” for his “great victory,” and declaring that he has “a major chance of winning” against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.
Trump, you may recall, took weeks before finally endorsing Roy Moore’s Senate candidacy in Alabama. Stewart, of course, is not Moore, who was an accused pedophile as well as an open bigot. But Stewart is himself so problematic that it’s not even clear the GOP establishment will back him: Last night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said nothing. Yet Trump was very eager to declare his endorsement of Stewart. Perhaps this is not despite Stewart’s dalliances with white supremacists, but because of them.
Stewart prevailed last night in the Virginia GOP Senate primary by a slim margin over a former Green Beret who had the backing of the party establishment. Some Republicans immediately expressed dismay. Bill Bolling, the former lieutenant governor of Virginia, tweeted: “This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.”
Stewart is indeed a very bad actor. In the wake of the white supremacist rallies and the murder of a young woman in Charlottesville, Stewart blamed “half the violence” on the left and condemned fellow Republicans who apologized for the outcome as “weak,” claiming they had helped liberals associate neo-Nazis with the GOP and adding: “There was no reason to apologize.”
Stewart also flatly declared this about the violence: “I don’t believe that this is caused by white supremacy. I believe this is caused by two groups duking it out on the streets.”
Now Democrats are planning to try to tag the Republican Party with Stewart, much as they tried to do with Moore.
“This latest recruitment failure immediately becomes a massive headache for the NRSC and the national Republican Party,” David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, emailed me this morning. “They’ll have to decide the extent to which they will back him, even