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Trump and Youngkin join forces for first time as Republicans push Virginia further into play

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) is putting aside long-standing differences with former President Donald Trump in a bid to flip Virginia red this November. 

The two are holding a rally Friday afternoon in Chesapeake, Virginia, as polls show the governor’s onetime rival in a dead heat with President Joe Biden. 

Glenn Youngkin speaks at the Road to Majority conference. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The two Republicans’ sporadic relationship is well documented. In 2021, Youngkin shocked the country when he won his bid for governor, flipping a governor’s mansion in what was thought to be a Democratic stronghold. Trump took credit for the landmark win, saying in a post to social media, “Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me.”

Youngkin appeared to take the former president’s support more lightly. After clinching the governor’s seat, Youngkin spent the next two years contemplating challenging Trump for the presidency while twice declining opportunities to appear at Trump rallies in his state. 

In March, Youngkin skipped a rally to attend a basketball game, citing a scheduling conflict. In October 2021, Youngkin gave the cold shoulder again, saying prior arrangements kept him from appearing at a Trump rally featuring then-chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon. 

With new polling indicating Trump is on the rise in Virginia, Youngkin seems to be hopping back on the Trump train. A Fox News poll of Virginia voters found that in a two-way match between Biden and Trump, the two are tied, both grasping 48% of the vote. That’s a steep drop for Biden, who won Virginia by 10 points in 2020.

Days after the poll was released, Youngkin told Fox News that voters “want Trump back in the White House because he built a strong America.” Two days later, Youngkin and Trump met in a private meeting at the Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia. With the Trump campaign releasing a photo of the two afterward, their meeting on June 12 appeared to go smoothly.

Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)


However, the governor declined to get on board with the possibility of being Trump’s running mate. 

“It’s my job to finish my time as governor and help him win Virginia,” Youngkin said.

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