Some Republicans are feeling “duped” by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who promised he was nothing like former President Donald Trump but less than a year later has endorsed an extremist Republican candidate who promotes Trump’s “big lie.”

Youngkin is now endorsing Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Arizona Governor and one of the biggest supporters of Trump’s thoroughly debunked lies about him winning the 2020 presidential election.  Lake has also made headlines for comparing herself, Trump, and other Trump supporters to Jesus Christ. Younkin is set to spend a day in October campaigning with Lake in Arizona.

via Twitter / @HuffPost

Some former members of the GOP who left partly because of Trump’s lies which ultimately led to the insurrection/coup attempt on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, said Youngkin’s willingness to support conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters like Lake reveals a lot about who he is.

Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman, wasn’t as surprised as others:

“He didn’t run as a ‘normal’ Republican. He ran as an enabler of the crazies. In today’s GOP, there are crazies and there are enablers of the crazies. His helping Kari Lake, a crazy, get elected, is not a surprise and reinforces his status as an enabler.”

Another former Republican congressman, David Jolly of Florida, said that he believes Youngkin is trying to appeal to the median Republican voter across the country, which means echoing Trump’s stolen election claims:

“I feel a little duped myself in how I saw his candidacy. It may be we put too much stock in Youngkin the candidate instead of realizing his race was likely just an exercise in matching a message with where the constituency was for the Virginia general election.”

VA Gov. Elect Glenn Youngkin via Flickr / Glenn Youngkin

Earlier this month, Youngkin was  Reno, Nevada campaigning for the Republican gubernatorial candidate there, and was asked him how he’d respond to other Republicans who continue to spout lies about the 2020 election being stolen from Trump, as Lake is. His response was seemingly distanced him from candidates like Lake, who he is now fully supporting:

“We have to look forward. That’s what we have to do as Republicans. The reality of course is that we have to work to make people feel more confident about the election process.”

Lake will not stop spreading the election fraud lies though, according to one of her aides:

“The Kari Lake you had in the primary is the Kari Lake you get in the general.”

Lake has had Trump’s support for some time, going back to a visit to his Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump likes her embrace of his claims of massive fraud in the 2020 election and  her repeating his 2015 claim that immigrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border are criminals, as she did at a campaign event in a church recently:

“They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists, and that’s who’s coming across our border.”

That same church appearance is where she claimed that she doesn’t care if  President Joe Biden criticizes her and other Trump supporters who support the Capitol rioters of January 6, 2o21, because Jesus Christ also received criticism:

“You can call us extremists. You can call us domestic terrorists. You know who else was called a lot of names his whole life? Jesus.”

But Youngkin’s support of such an extremist view is disappointing for many Republican, according to one anonymous senior strategist:

“It’s expected that Donald Trump and [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis would campaign for Kari Lake. It’s very frustrating to see Glenn Youngkin cast his lot with them as opposed to standing with the sane and rational Republicans who recognize that our party will never move forward if we embrace election deniers and condone their dangerous lies. While he may see political upside to appealing to the QAnon crowd as he grows his national brand, he’s doing permanent damage to any chance of being seen as a responsible leader with respected principles.”

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

To Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, was even more blunt:

“Youngkin has already campaigned for a rogue’s gallery of election deniers ― I prefer the term ‘election liars.’ Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Paul LePage in Maine, Joe Lombardo in Nevada, and others. So Kari Lake fits right in, but she may be the most extreme of the lot.”

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Christopher Powell