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Virginia GOP Deletes Tweet Saying Dem ‘Turned His Back on His Own Family’s Heritage’ on Monuments

Following the events of Charlottesville, the controversy over Confederate monuments is turning into one of many campaign issues in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Last week Democrat Ralph Northam, the state’s current lieutenant governor, said in a statement, “I support City of Charlottesville’s decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue. I believe these statues should be taken down and moved into museums. As governor, I am going to be a vocal advocate for that approach and work with localities on this issue.”

Republican Ed Gillespie said he believes “decisions about historical statues are best made at the local level, but they should stay and be placed in historical context.”

The Virginia Republican Party criticized Northam over his decision on Twitter today by saying that he “turned his back on his own family’s heritage.”

The tweet has since been deleted. Here’s a screengrab:

That initial tweet got a lot of blowback on Twitter already, including from Northam himself:

The Washington Post‘s report contains this explanation from state GOP executive director John Findlay:

John Findlay, executive director of the state GOP, said the party was not suggesting Northam should stand with his ancestors as slave holders, but as soldiers who fought and were wounded in war.

“We said that Ralph Northam is turning his back on his heritage and family. It is because his great-grandfather fought for the side of the Confederacy and was wounded during the Civil War,” Findlay said. “When he wants to tear down monuments dedicated to those killed in action and wounded during the war, he is literally talking about a member of his own family.”

After the tweet was deleted, the Virginia GOP posted this:

UPDATE –– 5:41 pm ET: A spokesman for Gillespie reacted by saying they were “right to apologize for the tweet and to take it down”:

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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