GOP Talks Trump Over Breakfast

GOP Talks Trump Over Breakfast

NEARLY 150 Republicans enjoy breakfast at the Glen Maury Park pavilion on Labor Day morning. (Katie Doar photos)

GOP Talks Trump Over Breakfast

BOB GOOD, who is running for election in the Fifth Congressional District, speaks to the crowd.

GOP Talks Trump Over Breakfast

DEL. RONNIE CAMPBELL (seated center in table at left) enjoys his meal with family and friends, while behind them is a cutout of President Trump.

GOP Talks Trump Over Breakfast

REP. BEN CLINE talks with the wife of GOP Senate candidate Daniel Gade, Wendy Gade (in white dress).

Republicans Continue Their Labor Day Tradition

At the Labor Day Republican breakfast, current representatives and GOP challengers gave speeches, making clear that the reelection the president was foremost on their minds.

Nearly 150 turned out for the annual event, held this year outside at the Glen Maury Park pavilion to allow social distancing during the pandemic.

Normally, the pavilion would have been the site of political speeches and music following the morning parade but all of those events were canceled this year. Of the political breakfasts that usually precede the parade, only the Republicans gathered this year.

Ronnie Campbell, delegate for the 24th District, said in his comments at the breakfast that he considered Trump “one of the best people we’ve ever had in the presidential office.” And Bob Good, who is a candidate for the Fifth Congressional District, dubbed the upcoming election “the most important of our lives.”

Next to the stage, the Rockbridge Republicans had set up his image — a life-size Trump cut out, smiling with thumbs up — surrounded on the left by a flurry of Gade, Cline, Trump-Pence and “Defend Police” signs. MAGA hats and American flags — some worn by women as shawls — were bountiful.

Though masks were encouraged, they were not widely worn, and whether by accident or design, none of the speakers mentioned the pandemic.

Campbell gave a characteristically short but frank speech, which he began by saying —with exasperation — that he would spare the audience details of his political life in Richmond. Instead, he pledged to continue to defend the constitution and the right to bear arms. He pointed out that he was recently rec ognized by the Virginia Civil Defense League as the most pro-gun supporter of Second Amendment rights in the Virginia House of delegates.

Campbell then introduced Wendy Gade, wife of Sen. Mark Warner’s GOP challenger Daniel Gade, as a “wonderful speaker.”

She did not disappoint. At the conclusion of her speech, for example, amid other applause, the mayor of Goshen, Tom McCraw, voiced his approval by saying that she should be on television.

Gade started by saying, “We are going to send Mark Warner packing!” Then she told stories about her husband. A veteran of Iraq, he was wounded in service twice with the second injury costing him his leg. Gade said that the injury prompted her husband to think about other forms of service that did not involve combat.

She then told a touching story, which highlighted her own power to organize, about Gade’s desire to bring Christmas decorations and presents to his troops in Iraq. Wendy called friends and arranged for donations that made that holiday a memorable one.

“There were packages, stockings, Christmas trees, and even a Santa suit,” she said.

Bob Good, who was up next, reiterated that the stakes for this election were high. He listed a number of things that he considered to be under threat: the sanctity of life, Second Amendment rights, and tax cuts, to name a few.

“We’re running against a party who supports unrestricted, unlimited abortion any time for any reason,” he said. We’re running against a party that literally wants to tear down and destroy American and make it into another country.”

Ben Cline, dressed neatly in a blue jacket and red tie, he said that, on a normal Labor Day, he would have been sweaty after parading in Buena Vista and enjoying a hearty back-and-forth with the Democrats.

He made reference to his favorite enemies, calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” mentioning the threat from “Nancy Pelosi and her wonderful hair-do herself,” and describing his happy or “joyful” battle with what’s known as “the squad” –-a group of liberal congresswomen of color who took office in January 2019.

“The squad everyday has a plan for your life,” he warned. “If Donald Trump is there, he will be able to stop the liberal agenda.”

Cline also discussed the “chaos” in “liberal cities” across America, saying that it might give Republicans an opening.

“We have a chance to give an alternative to Democrats and to Americans who are sick and tired of Democrat rule,” he said. “We have a chance to convince independents, to convince Democrats who know that tired Joe Biden is not what’s right for this country.”

This echoed Wendy Gade, who concluded her speech in more or less the same way.

“Maybe you have friends in Northern Virginia,” she said to the audience, pausing to allow for their laughter. “You could reach out to them.”

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