Virginia’s Republican Lieutenant Governor, Winsome Earle-Sears, said in a TV interview Thursday that if Donald Trump makes a third bid for the White House, she would not support him.
Previously a vocal advocate for the former President, Earle-Sears told Fox Business that voters in this week’s midterm elections have given the Republican party a “very clear message” that it’s time for a new standard-bearer.
“A true leader understands when they have become a liability. A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage. And the voters have given us that very clear message,” she said, after being asked specifically about Trump, who has been teasing a “big announcement” Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Earle-Sears listed a number of policy areas where she thought the Trump administration was due credit — including reducing unemployment levels among Black Americans and signing into law a bill to permanently provide funding for the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. But when asked how she would respond if Trump announces a reelection bid next week, Earle-Sears responded: “I could not support him. I just couldn’t.”
“We have a clear mission, and it is time to move on,” said Earle-Sears, a former Marine, adding that some of the former President’s endorsed candidates had underperformed Tuesday.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. And indeed that’s where we are today,” she said.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment Thursday.
Earle-Sears, the first Black woman to hold statewide office in Virginia and the first woman to serve in her post, was part of a Republican sweep in the state last year. In her campaign, Earle-Sears highlighted her work as national chairperson for a group that aimed to engage Black voters in the effort to reelect Trump.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who traveled across Virginia and around the country this election season in support of midterm candidates, is increasingly viewed as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, although he has not publicly declared any intention to run. Youngkin, who under state law cannot seek a consecutive term in his current office, typically answers questions about his future plans by saying he is humbled to be in the conversation but is focused on Virginia.
Should Youngkin resign, Earle-Sears would be in line to succeed him.
Her chief of staff did not immediately respond to an interview request Thursday from The Associated Press.
In light of Tuesday night’s disappointing results for the GOP, some allies have called on Trump to delay his announcement, the AP has reported, saying the party’s full focus needs to be on Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will meet in a Dec. 6 runoff.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.