In the wake of a rally this week in Virginia during which former President Donald Trump appeared via telephone and falsely claimed to have won the 2020 election, the event’s co-hosts Steve Bannon and John Fredericks have also claimed that Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin agrees with the conspiracy theory.
Youngkin was not at the rally, but Terry McAuliffe’s campaign has pointed out that Youngkin had appeared Monday on Fredericks’ radio show and thanked the host for holding the upcoming event.
The most controversial moment from the rally came when attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance to an American flag that was purportedly carried during the events of January 6. The emcee said that the flag had been “carried at the peaceful rally with Donald J. Trump on January 6.”
On Thursday’s edition of Bannon’s show, while he and Fredericks responded to public denunciations of the rally and the flag salute, the two men also claimed that Youngkin supported their claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from Trump. As evidence, they said that Youngkin was “putting a lot of his own money” into a “voter integrity infrastructure” in the state as part of his campaign.
Later that day, Youngkin issued a statement distancing himself from the specific actions surrounding the January 6 flag: “It is weird and wrong to pledge allegiance to a flag connected to January 6. As I have said many times before, the violence that occurred on January 6 was sickening and wrong.”
Bannon is currently defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the events of January 6, which may soon refer him for charges of criminal contempt. Previously, on the morning of January 6, hours before the violence began at the Capitol, Bannon told his audience: “What's going to happen today is going to happen. The question you have to ask yourself, have you pushed yourself as far as you possibly have pushed?” Since then, he has claimed that the 2020 election will go through a “decertification process,” and he has teamed up with QAnon adherents to push a variety of claims about the election.
Fredericks has also used his network of fake local news sites to push false claims of election fraud, and he has also hosted Trump as part of the former president’s far-right media tour to claim that the election had been “rigged.”