Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's actions before and after the deadly weekend race clashes in Charlottesville are coming under fire amid calls for an independent review to determine if politics played a role.
Former Republican Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore on Tuesday raised new questions about Richmond's involvement in the riots the claimed three lives and said the public "needs to know" if the state and city had taken the proper precautions to avoid the clashes and if police were told to stand down.
In an interview with Secrets, he dismissed McAuliffe's call for an internal review. Instead, Gilmore, who was a presidential candidate in 2016, said that an independent group must be charged with the investigation, taking it out of the governor's office.
"This has to be an independent review. We have to know what the governor did, how he participated in it, whether he was part of the meetings, whether he had a meeting, whether the secretary of public safety was in the meeting, where it was held, was it in Richmond or Charlottesville, what planning was done, and what constraints if any were put on the police," said Gilmore, a former Virginia attorney general and county attorney.
Gilmore, president of the American Opportunity Foundation, formerly known as the Free Congress Foundation, said, "While we support the police, we know they do a good job, we don't know what direction they got at the time of the Charlottesville riots."
Several reports have said that the police stood by as white supremacists and their foes faced off in fights. Others said that when the violence escalated, unprepared police had to leave to get proper equipment.
Gilmore also said there was a report that some police were "asked to stand aside and be more passive."
He added, "They didn't have a plan to separate these groups. The governor seems to be blaming everybody else."
Gilmore said, "You have to have afore-knowledge of what is ready to happen and a plan in place to be able to deal with it so the police can carry out the plan. In this case the was no plan apparently to divide these people from one to the other. We need to know, we need to be advised as to what action was taken or not taken."
In a televised statement Saturday, McAuliffe seemed to blame the white hate groups for the violence, but he later blamed the ACLU which sued to keep the protest in downtown Charlottesville.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org