Fact Check: Corey Stewart, Republicans and the Fringe Right
Asked about Mr. Kaine’s statement, Mr. Stewart said: “He’s trying to deflect from the fact that he’s got nothing accomplished over the past six years, and he’s trying to deflect from the fact that President Trump has been successful at improving the economy, bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula, opening up foreign markets to American-made goods. All that Tim Kaine has is to try to convince people that conservatives are racist — and you know what, people are smarter than that.”
He vehemently opposes removing Confederate monuments.
Mr. Stewart has been a vocal defender of Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville around which last year’s rally was organized. Annoyed at Ed Gillespie, who defeated him for the Republican nomination for governor in 2017 but lost the general election, for not focusing on the issue, he told The New York Times in August, “He’s like some dainty old lady who doesn’t want to get her hands dirty.”
In April 2017, Mr. Stewart — a Minnesota native — tweeted, “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter.” At other times, he has likened the removal of such monuments to the Islamic State’s destruction of historical artifacts in Iraq and Syria. Since the Charlottesville City Council voted in February 2017 to remove the statue (prompting a legal battle that has stretched into this year), Mr. Stewart has visited the city numerous times to attend protests, including with Mr. Kessler.
After the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August, when one of the participants drove into a crowd and killed a counterprotester, most Virginia politicians specifically condemned the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had organized and marched in the event. But Mr. Stewart adopted similar language to President Trump, saying that “half the violence” was the fault of the counterprotesters, including “far-left nut cases.”
“People condemned all those far-right agitators, but no one seemed to condemn the left wing,” he told WTOP, a Washington radio station. “Clearly, half of that violence was committed by left-wingers.”
He denounced other Republicans for apologizing and condemning the violence, saying they were playing into liberals’ hands.
He led an anti-immigration push in his county.
In 2007, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, which Mr. Stewart has led for more than a decade, voted unanimously to deny county services to undocumented immigrants. The policy, which was updated in 2008 to require police officers to check the immigration status of anybody they arrested, drew intense opposition and brought Mr. Stewart to national attention.