- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate vying for the Virginia governor’s office, has asked supporters to sign a petition opposing the removal of the state’s Confederate monuments as their fate comes under fire in the aftermath of a deadly white supremacist rally this month in Charlottesville.

Mr. Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, sent a campaign email Tuesday asking recipients to add their names to a list of people opposed to dismantling statues and monuments celebrating the likes of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson while taking aim at his Democratic rival’s support for their removal.

“My opponent, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has promised to do everything he can to remove Virginia’s Confederate monuments and statues if he is elected governor,” Mr. Gillespie said in the email.

“I think we should keep them up,” he added. “We should teach history — NOT erase it.”

The email instructed recipients to visit a website where they could sign a petition opposing the monuments’ removal. Individuals who added their name were subsequently redirected to a donation page for Mr. Gillespie’s GOP campaign, the left-wing Shareblue Media website reported.

“Not only is Gillespie wholly unconcerned with how his support for monuments to a racist and violent ideology might make Virginia residents who are targeted by those who perpetuate such bigotry — he is boasting about it in an effort to fatten his campaign coffers,” Shareblue said.

Confederate monuments in Virginia and beyond have faced heightened scrutiny ever since a white supremacist rally held in support of a statue in Charlottesville lauding Lee, a Civil War general, led to the death of a counterprotester on Aug. 12.

Both gubernatorial candidates have said decisions surrounding the state’s Confederate statues should be made at the local level, but Virginia law prohibits local governments from acting on monuments or memorials honoring war veterans, The Hill reported.

Efforts to reach Mr. Northam’s office for comment Wednesday were not immediately successful.

“If there are statues that are divisive and you know breed hatred and bigotry, then they need to be in museums,” Mr. Northam said previously. “That’s a decision that would need to be made at the local level.”

“As governor, I am going to be a vocal advocate for that approach and work with localities on this issue,” Mr. Northam said following the deadly Charlottesville rally.

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