The Washington Post is running hard with the narrative that pro-Trump Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart wore a Confederate uniform to a formal event, even though Stewart has told the newspaper that he was actually wearing a traditional Scottish kilt uniform.
Stewart, who worked on the Trump campaign as Virginia state director for most of the election, is running against Bush administration RNC chairman Ed Gillespie in next month’s primary, in which the polls are tightening and the race is up for grabs. Stewart is fighting against the removal of Confederate monuments in Virginia, in addition to his promised crackdown on illegal immigration and Trump-style tax cuts. The liberal establishment Washington Post, meanwhile, is accusing him of playing Confederate dress-up.
“The Washington Post has tried to take me down for years,” Stewart told Big League Politics. “When I led the nation’s toughest crackdown on criminal illegal aliens in 2007, they labeled me as a bigot and racist and said I would never be reelected” as at-large chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors. “When I was reelected by an even larger margin, they claimed that I was exploiting people’s fears of immigrants. None of this worked, and the 454,000 residents of Prince William County have elected and reelected me four times. The Post has resorted to outright lies. The most recent example is claiming that I dressed up in an outfit “approximating a civil war dress uniform.” The truth was that the outfit was a kilt tuxedo top. They knew this before writing the story, but they wrote it anyway. I am not surprised by any lie or distortion that Washington Post prints.”
Stewart did, indeed, appear at a traditional Old South Ball where the Confederate flag was displayed, but he was not dressed in a Confederate uniform. He was clearly wearing a kilt tuxedo top.
Washington Post reporter Laura Vozzella wrote a piece on April 11 entitled “Did a Republican running for Va. governor really dress up like a Confederate gent?”
As with most headlines that end in a question mark, the answer, in reality, was no.
Vozzella wrote, “For a minute there, it looked like Corey Stewart’s bid for Virginia governor had morphed him from Confederate flag-waver to fully costumed Confederate reenactor. He turned up at the Old South Ball in Danville during the weekend, sporting a bow tie and dark bolero jacket bedecked with lots of shiny buttons. In a video he posted online, the former chairman of President Trump’s Virginia campaign looked right at home with all of the women in hoop skirts and men in Civil War-era uniforms.” Vozzella then proceeded to quote Stewart, who is Scottish, in the article calling the dress a Scottish kilt.
Stewart campaign representative Noel Fritsch sent a series of emails to Post staff pushing for retractions, but the narrative continued.
Petula Dvorak wrote in the Post last Tuesday, “Stewart, who is also chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, even dressed as a Confederate reenactor and then had his campaign fly his banner along with a Confederate flag behind an airplane.”
Vozzella wrote another piece Saturday entitled “Do Corey Stewart’s Confederate antics help Ed Gillespie or hurt the GOP brand?”
Vozzella writes that “Stewart held multiple rallies for the monument, unfurled the Confederate flag at other events and attended an Old South ball in an outfit approximating a Civil War dress uniform. Along the way, he gave an interview to Mike Cernovich, the alt-right Internet figure who helped popularize the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. The alt-right is a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state. Adherents of the alt-right are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view.”
Writer Cernovich, of course, does not seek a “whites-only state,” and Stewart’s outfit did not approximate a “Civil War dress uniform.”
Big League Politics reached out to Post editors and to Vozzella and Dvorak about the false claim. Vozzella’s reply is shocking in its candor.
“Hi. I described the outfit in detail here,” Vozzella told Big League Politics, linking to her first article. “In a more recent story, I did not go into all that detail. I just said he wore “something approximating” a period outfit. Corey questioned that description. Below is my response: ‘When we [talked] about it, you’d said how it was the best you could come up with on short notice — meaning, I thought, that you were trying to put together something that could pass for a period outfit out of what you had in your closet.”
Asked if she thought a Scottish kilt and a Confederate uniform are the same thing — because both were primarily worn by white people and because the Scots are still under British occupation — Vozzella replied, “No, I don’t think a kilt is the same as a Confederate uniform. And Corey did not wear his kilt. He took his kilt jacket and paired it with slacks, an ensemble he described to me as something that would fit in at the Old South Ball: ‘It’s the best I could do on short notice.'”
Pressed with the fact that Mike Cernovich has never advocated for a “whites only state,” Vozzella did not reply further.
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