While all of this may make progressive hearts beat a little faster, it’s still a stunt — and a cynical one at that. It’s the kind of thing that Virginia politicians won’t soon forget.
House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) made it clear that Samirah’s actions were “inconsistent with common decency” and, more important, “a violation of the rules of the House.”
But Cox’s admonition pales next to what qualifies as a public outburst from Norment, who told WCVE News Director Craig Carper he was “very proud of [Trump] that he did stay on message when that ill-advised little bastard [Samirah] decided to make a scene of it. The president was unflappable.”
Were Samirah a Republican, Norment might try to give him the “Chris Peace treatment” and have him tossed out in a primary.
And not to be left out of the fun, Republican Charles W. “Bill” Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) “confronted” Samirah, saying “You’re an embarrassment to this body” and the delegate “should have stayed at home!”
Come now, senator. Republicans needed the cheap theater as much as the self-styled resistance did.
It helps them pick up the (almost forgotten) early campaign theme that Republicans are the adults in Richmond and deserve to retain their House and Senate majorities.
The Democrats? They are Capitol Square’s resident 2-year-olds.
It also provides a diversion.
Having Trump speak at an official event with Virginia Republicans unavoidably in the frame is a gift to Democratic campaign managers. That Trump isn’t the story is a blessed, if temporary, relief for the GOP.
The same, however, cannot be said for at least one Democrat, who also ended up in the frame with Trump: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
Fairfax was the only statewide elected Democrat on site when the president spoke. He discussed his reasons for being there in an essay on Medium.
Other Democrats, in particular, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, boycotted the event. The group’s news release was a warning to any and all attendees, including Fairfax, that “[t]hose who have chosen to attend and remain silent are complicit in the atrocities [Trump] incites.”
Never mind Samirah’s stunt. Forget Cox’s tut-tutting and the blusterings of Norment and Carrico. And the president’s speech? Piffle.
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus’s message was the strongest one delivered Tuesday. It also will have lasting political effects.
The group’s vice chairman, Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond), could be a strong contender for the Democrat’s 2021 gubernatorial nomination. In the news release, McClellan talked of justice, liberty and the rule of law.
It’s soft, calm — heck, it almost sounds like a Republican candidate for statewide office (or like Republicans before the rise of Donald Trump).
But these words are the velvet glove covering the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus’s iron fist. Fairfax may have had good personal reasons for being in Jamestown. But he was pictured shaking the president’s hand. And he was silent.
If scandal hadn’t already sunk Fairfax’s political career, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus made sure it was sent to the bottom.
Perhaps this will allow Fairfax more time for suing the two women who accused him of sexual assault. We shall see.
As for McClellan, if her statewide campaign wasn’t already underway, it surely is now.