Trump lashes out against Youngkin: "He couldn't have won without me"
The big picture: Trump has been claiming responsibility for the political rise of potential competitors in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, including Youngkin and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as allies consider distancing themselves from him after an underperformance of Trump-backed candidates in the midterms.
What he's saying: "Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me," the former president said on Truth Social.
- "I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him - or he couldn’t have come close to winning."
- "But he knows that, and admits it," Trump continued. "Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia - But he’ll get it done!"
- "The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, 'I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future,'" Trump said. "Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer."
Zoom out: Youngkin won the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election, defeating former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe.
- In doing so, he created a new template for how Republican candidates operate in competitive races during the Trump era.
- During his run, Youngkin walked a tightrope between praising Trump to draw in voters from his base while also keeping him at an arms’ length to appeal to independents, Axios' Sarah Mucha reported at the time.
Worth noting: Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks incidents of hate and discrimination toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., condemned Trump's comments on Friday — specifically his implication that Youngkin has Chinese connections.
- The organization also said anti-China rhetoric has inflamed violence against Asian American communities.
- "Almost three years ago, Trump’s racist rhetoric — like this — fueled one of the most serious rises in anti-AAPI hate that our community is still reeling from today," Manjusha P. Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, said in a statement to Axios.
- "So many in our community are afraid of what will happen to them and their loved ones as he re-enters the scene. But we’ve come a long way — AAPIs are engaged, activated, united and strong. [...] And we’re calling on other elected officials to support us by holding him to account."
What we're watching: Before the midterms, Trump said he'd be making a "very big" announcement at Mar-a-Lago next Tuesday, with the expectation being he'd announce a 2024 presidential campaign.
Go deeper: Trump unloads on DeSantis after midterms
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Stop AAPI Hate.