“I’m done with fake politicians,” Davis said as his stunned colleagues watched in delight. “I’m done with Minnesotans who pretend to be southern gentlemen. I’m done with phonies who think they’re Donald Trump because they can tweet.”
The display came as many Republicans are alarmed by the prospect of bombastic Stewart winning the party nomination in June and running as the GOP standard-bearer against Sen. Tim Kaine (D).
After nearly defeating Ed Gillespie for the gubernatorial nomination last year, Stewart has the highest name recognition, compared to the rest of the Republican field.
The other candidates are evangelical pastor E.W. Jackson; Bert Mizusawa, a retired major general in the U.S. Army Reserve and foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign; two-term state Del. Nicholas J. “Nick” Freitas (R-Culpeper); and political newcomer Ivan Raiklin.
On Thursday, Stewart, who is chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, told reporters what he thought of Davis and other House Republicans who voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act- a shift after years of GOP opposition to the plan.
“I compare them to toilet paper,” he said, holding a roll aloft. “These are toilet paper Republicans. Just as soft, just as weak, just as pathetic, just as flimsy. Put a little bit of pressure on them and they crumble.”
“I’m suggesting I feel sorry for their wives,” he said. “They’re soft and pathetic.”
That’s where he crossed the line for Davis, who traversed the state in an RV last year in his losing bid for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.
“This exactly who we do not want to be the face of our party,” Davis said in an interview.
During his speech he called it ironic to be lectured on fiscal policy by Stewart, who has supported tax increases in Prince William County.
“I’m done with holier-than-thou politicians who want to preach about ethics and fiscal responsibility, who have demonstrated that they possess neither,” he said.
The three-minute screed earned him a standing ovation, according to video of the scene and lawmakers who were there. Democrats, Republicans and even Speaker M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) joined in.
Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) quipped, “It was the most bipartisan moment of the session so far.”