An infamous anti-Trump Republican has endorsed a Democrat running for another high-profile office.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of The Bulwark, said he will endorse Terry McAuliffe instead of Glenn Youngkin in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
McAuliffe was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018 and is running to serve a second non-consecutive term.
Kristol said he will endorse “non-Trump Republicans.” In his mind, that does not include Youngkin.
Kristol prefers the “moderate” McAuliffe.
“He’s a moderate Democrat, and he’s not going to shut down Virginia’s business success, economic success and so forth. He’s the kind of Democrat I’m comfortable supporting,” Kristol said.
He also criticized Youngkin for “reckless” public health policies.
In a statement Monday, Youngkin accused McAuliffe of attempting to bully Virginians into taking the COVID-19 vaccines. He says he supports getting vaccinated but not levying vaccine mandates.
McAuliffe, on the other hand, has required his entire campaign staff to be vaccinated and supports private companies requiring the vaccine among employees.
Youngkin’s campaign responded to Kristol’s endorsement of McAuliffe, which The Post said will be echoed by 17 Republicans in an official announcement Tuesday.
“A 43-year political boss like Terry McAuliffe trotting out the endorsements of fellow political grifters is neither impressive nor surprising,” Youngkin’s campaign said. “It exemplifies McAuliffe’s old and tired way of doing things that has failed Virginia.”
A Youngkin campaign spokesman also noted that Youngkin has “tremendous support from Republicans AND Democrats, along with 16 different coalitions including Latinos, Blacks, Farmers, Firefighters, and Students.”
Kristol, a Virginia resident, was known for decades for conservative commentary in his now-defunct publication, The Weekly Standard.
Before that, he served in the administrations of former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
But with the rise of populism on the political right, and with the election of President Donald J. Trump, Kristol became unglued. He once tweeted that he considered himself to be a Democrat, at least until Trump left office.
He endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Terry McAuliffe” by Terry McAuliffe CC BY-SA 2.0 and photo “Bill Kristol” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0.