Trump's Virginia campaign chair blames Clinton for Dallas

Story highlights

  • Corey Stewart placed the blame for the killings of five Dallas police officers in part on Hillary Clinton
  • Stewart said Clinton's language pits minorities against the police

(CNN)The chairman of Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia argued that Hillary Clinton is to blame for "essentially encouraging the murder" of five Dallas officers who were shot to death Thursday night.

Corey Stewart, a Republican who is running for governor, posted on his Facebook page that Clinton and Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam "are pitting minorities against the police" with their rhetoric.
    "Whenever there is a police shooting involving a minority, their knee jerk reaction is to allege racism," he wrote. "That is insulting to the men and women in blue who risk their lives to protect ours. But worse, these allegations result in the murder of our police."
    The caption was accompanied by a photo of a white police officer and a black police officer holding their hands out to a camera, with the words "His life matters" written on their palms.
    In a separate post, Stewart wrote, "Liberal politicians who label police as racists -- specifically Hillary Clinton and Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam -- are to blame for essentially encouraging the murder of these police officers tonight."
    Stewart also posted a link to article announcing that Clinton will be campaigning in Virginia next week. "This crook should be arrested when she arrives in Prince William County," he wrote.
    Stewart is no stranger to writing controversial posts on Facebook, and he's known for his strong rhetoric against undocumented immigrants. As chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Stewart led the way for a law that he claims has rounded up more than 7,000 undocumented immigrants in the county and handed them over to the feds since 2008.
    Reached by email, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the campaign did not agree with Stewart's assessment about Clinton and Northam.
    "Corey does not speak for the campaign and this is not something we agree with," Hicks wrote.
    Stewart's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and messages left with Clinton's campaign were not immediately returned.
    A spokesperson for Northam, who also is seeking his party's nomination for governor, said it was unclear what Stewart was referring to, because Northam hadn't issued any statements this week on the shooting deaths. When asked to respond to Stewart's comment, Northam issued a statement, saying, "This is a time for our nation to come together and heal."
    "There is no place in this commonwealth for this divisive rhetoric, which only serves to politicize a national tragedy," he added. "Having cared for those who are wounded in service of our country, I know the sacrifice these officers make and my prayers are with the victims, their families, all first responders and all communities affected by violence."
    Following the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at the hands of white police officers, Clinton released a written statement, saying "something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn't consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin."
    She also offered praise for police officers who are "demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples."
    After the death of another black man, Philando Castile, later this week, Clinton tweeted Thursday "America woke up to yet another tragedy of a life cut down too soon. Black Lives Matter. #PhilandoCastile --H."
    Clinton canceled a Scranton, Pennsylvania, campaign event Friday, in the aftermath of the Dallas shootings, and her campaign announced she'd address the tragedy in a speech Friday.