The Corner

Corey Stewart Smears Ed Gillespie

“I just am having a hard time understanding how Ed Gillespie can call himself a conservative, how he can call himself a Catholic, how he can call himself frankly even a good man.” What elicited this outburst from Corey Stewart?

Gillespie and Stewart are both running for the Republican nomination for governor of Virginia. (Gillespie, I should note, has been a speaker on NR cruises.) In a statement earlier this week, Gillespie said, “As governor I would support and sign pain-capable legislation to ban late-term abortions after an unborn child can feel pain, with exceptions for cases involving the life of the mother, rape or incest. Protecting innocent human life is a central function of our government.” For Stewart, that makes Gillespie “someone who is for late-term abortion.” Stewart even calls for Gillespie to get out of the race.

Stewart says, “There should be no exceptions.” It is certainly within Stewart’s rights to criticize Gillespie for supporting exceptions for cases involving the life of the mother, rape, or incest—although a debate between pro-lifers about these exceptional cases, on the eve of the March for Life, does not seem likely to do much to advance the broader cause of protecting the lives of unborn human beings. But Stewart doesn’t even mention the words “rape,” “incest,” or “life of the mother” in his video attack, so intent is he on presenting Gillespie as a supporter of late-term abortion.

I have known Gillespie for more than twenty years, and he has always been pro-life. That’s why the National Right to Life Committee endorsed him in his 2014 race for the Senate. It’s one of the reasons David LaRock, the Virginia delegate who is the lead sponsor of legislation to ban late-term abortion (without rape and incest exceptions) in the commonwealth, is supporting Gillespie now. And it’s why Stewart’s attack is being described as “classless” and “disgraceful.” It is those things. It is also a lie.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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