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Stewart says 'it's time to move on' from deadly Aug. 12 rally

Published: Aug. 8, 2018 at 4:41 PM EDT
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When asked about the anniversary of the violence on Aug. 12, Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for Tim Kaine's U.S. Senate seat, said, "It's time to move on."

When Stewart ran for governor in 2017, he had a firm stance on keeping Confederate monuments in place.

"If the established order is wrong, we rebel," Stewart said at an event hosted by secessionist in April 2017. "We did that in the Revolution, we did it in the Civil War, and we're doing it today. We're doing it today because they're trying to rob us of everything that we hold dear: our history, our heritage, our culture."

According to records from Virginia's Department of Elections, the event was paid for by avowed secessionist George Randall. Stewart was introduced by Randall's wife, Donna, who also promoted the event on Facebook.

Randall is an unapologetic secessionist, telling The New York Times, "I'm a secessionist because the federal government is anti-Christian and we're different culturally."

Randall was seen marching with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville last August.

The defense of Confederate symbols became a staple of Stewart's gubernatorial campaign until his primary loss to Ed Gillespie, who ultimately lost to Ralph Northam.

Stewart even rallied with local white nationalist Jason Kessler, the organizer of the ill-fated and deadly Unite the Right rally.

Since Aug. 12, Stewart has not made Confederate monuments a campaign issue in his run for Senate.

He is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and his policies, causing many establishment Virginia Republicans to distance themselves, or in some cases, disown Stewart because of some of his more extreme positions and statements.

While attending a campaign stop in Madison County on Aug. 4, Stewart said it's time for the city to move on and celebrate Trump's agenda.

"We have to move on from that and recognize the fact that we have a President of the United States who is bringing back jobs, bringing back manufacturing, bringing back all sorts of economic growth, the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1950's," said Stewart. "That's what we have to focus in on, and we can't keep looking back to what happened a year ago in Charlottesville."

Trump was criticized for his comments about Charlottesville on Aug. 12, saying there were good people "on both sides."

In recent months, Stewart has distanced himself from Kessler because of the fallout from Aug. 12.

He still maintains his stance on keeping Confederate monuments in place and said it is the fault of "radical lefties" who want to take them down.