Virginia political leaders spar in advance of presidential visit

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 8:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - President Donald Trump wasn’t expected to speak at a Newport News rally for several hours, but 1500 supporters had already gathered for the event when we spoke with Virginia Republican Party Chairman Rich Anderson Friday afternoon.

“What this does is it energizes Republicans across the Commonwealth, and those from North Carolina who may come up to this venue, which is located very close to the border between the two states," Anderson told WDBJ7. “There is huge energy as a result.”

If Republicans were excited about the President’s visit, Democrats were indignant.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “So he’s putting us at risk so he can come down and do a campaign event, and he is ignoring all of our regulations here in Virginia," McAuliffe said during a teleconference Friday afternoon.

McAuliffe and other Democrats said the event highlights what’s at stake in the presidential election, with health coverage hanging in the balance.

“So our message to Donald Trump is we don’t want you here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said, “but we don’t stand for wanting to repeal the ACA. It has covered tens of millions of Americans.”

“I do believe there are a number of defects in the Affordable Care Act that must be addressed,” Anderson countered, “but this thing about not making provisions for pre-existing conditions I believe is an absolute straw man.”

President Trump was expected to take the stage at Newport News Williamsburg International Airport around 9 o’clock.

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