“I was Trump before Trump was Trump.”
That boast by Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and a Republican candidate for governor next year, always had a creepy ring to it.
Stewart became notorious a decade ago for his campaign against foreign-born people in his county, or, at least, people who might have dark skin and could be foreigners.
Whipping up fears about “illegal” aliens who might be infesting the county, Stewart pushed for police to check the immigration status of anyone they detained.
His move was widely criticized as profiling. Hispanics largely avoided Prince William County. Stewart was the subject of a biting documentary about race in America.
So, because the two men share extreme views on race and immigration, it seemed a natural fit when Stewart became co-chairman of the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign.
Until Monday, that is. In a typically bizarre move, the Trump campaign unceremoniously fired Stewart after he defied warnings that he not appear at a protest at the Republican National Committee headquarters in the District.
“We’re putting together a very strong effort in Virginia. Clearly, Mr. Stewart was more concerned about his own personal agenda than the campaign of Mr. Trump,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller.
Stewart had taken it upon himself to go after establishment Republicans at a time when many in the GOP are heading for the exits given Trump’s endless controversies, topped off by the release of a 2005 recording of lewd comments he made about women. Stewart has gone as far as to refer to such GOP officials as “pukes.”
One wonders just how much stranger the Trump campaign can become nationally and in Virginia. Anything seems possible, but the future does not look bright for Stewart.
Next year, he will be competing against several strong GOP candidates for governor, including former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Rep. Robert J. Wittman (R-1st) and state Sen. Frank W. Wagner of Virginia Beach.
None of these individuals has any of the baggage Stewart brings.
Not one has claimed to have been Trump before Trump was Trump. That could be the new acid test for GOP candidate sanity.
Peter Galuszka is a regular contributor to All Opinions Are Local.