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On heritage, or Our Own Virginia Tweet Storm

Twitter, as we know, has really elevated political discourse. So here, without comment, is an example you may have missed, since some of the original tweets have been deleted.

It started just after noon on Wednesday, with this from the @VA_GOP (aka the Republican Party of Virginia):

“.@RalphNortham has turned his back on his own family’s heritage in demanding monument removal (1/2), “Shows @RalphNortham will do anything or say anything to try and be #VAGov - #Pathetic 2/2.”

The RPV’s tweet was a commentary on Northam’s call for Confederate statues to be removed from public parks and places and placed in museums, in the wake of white supremacists’ violent opposition to Charlottesville’s decision to remove a city-owned statue of Robert E. Lee from one of its parks.

It prompted the online news site Daily Beast to report “Virginia GOP Calls Democratic Candidate a Race Traitor for Wanting Confederate Statues Removed,” noting that Northam had recently discovered that his great grandfather and great-great grandfather owned slaves.

Northam tweeted back two hours later: "I feel fine about turning my back on white supremacy. How does @EdWGillespie feel about the president's position?"

And former GOP member of the House of Delegates was inspired to wonder if the party Twitter feed had been hacked.

On reflection, the party thought its tweets might possibly be misread. About 90 minutes after Northam’s tweet, posted this:

“Our previous tweets were interpreted in a way we never intended. We apologize and reiterate our denunciation of racism in all forms.”

The state party’s executive director, John Findlay, told the Washington Post that tweet’s reference to Northam’s turning his back on heritage was intended to refer to the fact that his great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy. “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,” Findlay explained.


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