Ed Gillespie Taking Marching Orders from Trump White House
Gillespie Cravenly Willing to Say and Do Anything to Win
In their profile of career lobbyist Ed Gillespie, Washingtonian broke the news that Gillespie met with the Trump White House earlier this summer to strategize as to how to win over Trump voters following his bruising primary with right-wing extremist Corey Stewart.
On June 29, a little more than two weeks after the primary, a meeting was brokered at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington that helped bring Gillespie closer to Trumpworld. White House political director Bill Stepien was in attendance, as were Gillespie campaign manager Chris Leavitt, Virginia GOP chairman John Whitback, and a number of party activists from across the state. Press secretary Sean Spicer, then still employed by Trump, stopped by. The meeting was called to brief the White House on the political situation in Virginia, including Gillespie’s campaign. Whitbeck says a number of attendees made the case to Team Gillespie that hard-right voters could be persuaded to fall in line. “I thought there’d be some that said, ‘Ed’s not going to get Stewart voters.’ But we didn’t hear that,” he says. “The most striking thing I can remember was the attitude that ‘Ed has to earn their vote.’ ”
Republican politicians typically tack to the center during general campaigns. But Gillespie, the ultimate establishment pol, has done the opposite, stressing the kind of talk-radio issues he once tried to finesse.
Another anecdote highlighted Gillespie’s craven duplicity on the campaign trail as he tells voters “what he thinks they want to hear”:
Gillespie’s slogan is “For All Virginians.” He’s apparently taken it to heart because he really does have different answers for different voters, depending on what he thinks they want to hear. At one table, he encounters a 67-year-old African-American woman named Yasmin Harris, who asks him how he plans to create job opportunities for recent graduates. By diversifying the state’s economy, he tells her: “We’re too reliant on federal contracts here, we’re too reliant on military spending in Hampton Roads, too reliant on coal in southwest Virginia.”Sounds sensible.
A minute or two later, though, he meets two blond mothers who support Donald Trump. “I voted for him, and I want him to succeed in creating jobs and keeping the country safe,” Gillespie says. Then he Trumpishly outlines a position that almost directly contradicts what he just told Harris. “You know, when you look at Virginia on things like building more ships in Newport News and stopping the war on coal in southwest Virginia and keeping Norfolk the largest naval base in the world and allowing us to develop our oil and gas resources off our deep-sea coast, I want to work with him on those things.”
Read the full profile online for more fun facts about this “B-movie alien sweetly trying to blend in on planet Earth,” (Spoiler alert: Gillespie does not listen to music) online HERE.