President Trump attempted to rally support for Republican Ed Gillespie ahead of next month's governor's election in Virginia, saying the candidate is "strong on crime" and wouldn't remove Confederate statues and monuments.

"Ed Gillespie will turn the really bad Virginia economy #'s around, and fast. Strong on crime, he might even save our great statues/heritage!" Trump said.

The president appeared to be referencing efforts to take down Confederate statues. Debate over whether such statues should be removed from public places escalated after white nationalist groups clashed with counter protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

The white nationalists had gathered in the Virginia city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Gillespie is facing off against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

A poll from the Hampton University Center for Public Policy released Wednesday showed Gillespie leading Northam by eight percentage points.

The poll is only the second showing Gillespie with the lead. A poll from Monmouth University published earlier this month had Gillespie leading by one point.

"Ed Gillespie will be a great Governor of Virginia. His opponent doesn't even show up to meetings/work, and will be VERY weak on crime!" Trump added.

Northram shot back with a jab at Trump, pointing to his military service.

"I served 8 years in the Army, took care of sick kids, and am running to build a more inclusive Virginia. Don't talk to me about showing up," he said.