Earlier this week, the Confederate flag-defending and alt-right adjacent candidate Corey Stewart won the Republican Senate primary in Virginia, where he will now challenge incumbent Senator Tim Kaine. On Thursday, Stewart was having a bit of a mad one.
First, he went on CNN last night and had a meltdown at Chris Cuomo, who asked him about his association with avowed anti-Semite Paul Nehlen and his endorsement from Richard Hines, a member of the “neo-Confederate” movement who falsely called Nikki Haley a “Sikh-Hindu” and who once “carried a Confederate flag down a street in Richmond to protest a statue to the late black tennis star Arthur Ashe Jr. being erected among other monuments that honored prominent Confederate figures,” according to CNN.
Stewart repeatedly demanded Cuomo condemn Antifa—a loosely organized group of militant anti-fascism activists—instead of answering the question, compared Cuomo to Joe McCarthy, and said CNN should fire Cuomo. This is not to say that those are particularly unusual things for a Republican candidate to say in 2018, nor that Virginia’s voters will be leaping to defend Cuomo, but it does not bode particularly well for Stewart’s chances of rebutting these charges ahead of the general election.
Riding high off that successful national media appearance, Stewart tweeted the following at 12:46 a.m., the hour when all the best tweets are sent:
What we have here is a poorly-photoshopped picture of Tim Kaine showing the Senate a nice picture of his hot son, Linwood “Woody” Kaine, who was sentenced to probation last year for resisting arrest at a pro-Trump rally in St. Paul. It is very obviously not real! Nor does it really “say” anything: For all we know, in this imaginary universe where Stewart resides, Kaine could be condemning Woody to the Senate: “He’s a very naughty boy,” the Senator said to a baffled chamber of his peers. Stewart was boosting a tweet replying to himself and and right-wing goon Laura Loomer, who claimed Stewart “REKT” Cuomo in his appearance on CNN. As of publication, Stewart’s tweet remains up.
When Splinter reached out to ask if Stewart would be deleting the tweet, seeing as it’s wholly inaccurate, the campaign provided the following statement, which they attributed to the candidate:
Since Tim Kaine is on record praising his son’s involvement in a domestic terrorist group, Antifa, we will be talking about Tim Kaine’s approval of domestic terrorism at every opportunity.
When asked for the campaign’s source for that claim, a spokesperson responded with a link to a post from the right wing fever swamp blog The Federalist, with a headline that blared: “If Tim Kaine Thinks His Son’s Trump Protest Was ‘Peaceful,’ What Would Be Violent?”
The horror of Tim Kaine’s “Antifa” Son is a matter of widespread concern in conservative media circles. “Tim Kaine’s ‘Antifa’ Son Just Got ‘Special Treatment’ at Sentencing,” reads a headline at TruthFeed News. “Tim Kaine’s Antifa Son – Woody Kaine – Charged with Mob Violence Against TRUMP Supporters,” screamed the Gateway Pundit, inaccurately—Woody was charged with “fleeing on foot, concealing identity in a public place, and obstructing legal process,” the first two of which were later dropped. (Kaine pleaded guilty to the obstructing charge and received a 90-day sentence, 86 days of which were suspended after he served four days in jail, according to the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press.)
It’s completely unsurprising that Stewart has glommed onto this fear-mongering trope; he is mired in the most toxic and downright stupid elements of the modern conservative movement, where “Antifa! Antifa!” is a logical and devastating response to allegations of involvement with racists and anti-Semites. If you’re dumb enough to attack Kaine for not disowning his activist son, you are probably dumb enough to retweet a fake photo of Kaine praising his son on the Senate floor.