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Virginia Senate Democrats defeated an effort to revive confirmation of former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as Governor Glenn Youngkin’s secretary of natural and historic resources. In committee last week, Democrats voted to remove Wheeler from SJ 84, the bill to confirm Youngkin’s cabinet selections.

On Tuesday, Republicans opposed a vote to confirm the committee amendment.

State Senator Richard Stuart (R-King George) said that Wheeler had been impressive in committee interviews, and had a record of helping Virginia.

“But I get the politics. I understand that some of these environmental groups out there don’t like him because of who he worked for. And that’s just a real shame, because we have an opportunity here to confirm somebody who has the real credentials, and I’ve not heard one member in this body object to his credentials or his qualifications,” he said.

It is rare for the General Assembly to block cabinet nominees.

“You know, there have been people that I have supported in the 14 years that I’ve been here that I didn’t really think may have been the best candidate but I respected that governor who picked them, and I respect this governor who picked Andrew Wheeler,” Stuart said.

Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee Chair Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) said that governors do have a right to presume confirmation of Cabinet selections.

He continued, “But at the end of the day, it’s a presumption, and when we’re dealing with a candidate that was part of an administration – and he can say, ‘Well it wasn’t my act,’ but it defunded the Chesapeake Bay, it dismantled the Clean Power Plan, dismantled it. It basically removed the rules that were dealing with coal ash particulate, and effectively silenced scientists. And I know Mr. Wheeler can say, ‘Well I did the best within my limited sphere.’ And I understand that. But sometimes you’ve got to do a bit better than that.”

After State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) seemed friendly towards Wheeler, there was speculation that Morrissey would vote with Republicans to rescue Wheeler’s confirmation. But Morrissey touts his environmental bona fides, and on Tuesday, no Democrats defected to support adding Wheeler back to SJ 84. The Senate is expected to confirm Youngkin’s cabinet nominees sans Wheeler in a Wednesday vote.

Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement, “It’s clear Mr. Wheeler is extraordinarily qualified to be Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources and admirably served for decades in the highest levels of government. The governor is disappointed in today’s vote because he was looking forward to Mr. Wheeler accomplishing great things on behalf of Virginians. Pursuant to the Constitution, he will continue to serve as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources until the General Assembly adjourns. In the meantime, we hope the Senate will reconsider.”

– – –

Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Andrew Wheeler” by United States Environmental Protection Agency. Photo “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin. Background Photo “Virginia State Capitol” by Martin Kraft. CC BY-SA 3.0.



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Tags: andrew wheeler governor glenn youngkin senator joe morrissey youngkin’s cabinet the general assembly i understand cabinet nominees senate democrats confirmation glenn youngkin state senator that governor in committee in committee dealing

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Trump rally officials appear to shut down QAnon finger salutes in video

During former President Donald Trump's rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday, officials appeared to stop rallygoers who were making one-finger salutes believed to be a nod to QAnon.

Footage showed men donning T-shirts with the phrase “security” directing attendees to stop making the salute while Trump addressed the jovial crowd. Trump's team was adamant that the officials were not security, but rather “guest management” tasked with overseeing the raucous crowd, according to a reporter.


"Trump rally staff told me the folks in the olive shirts and black pants were not security, but ‘guest management’,” PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins tweeted. “In my defense, it was an easy assumption — shirts said ‘security.' But I was told it was as part the name of their company ‘Colorado Security Agency.'"

Addition: Trump rally staff told me the folks in the olive shirts and black pants were not security, but “guest management”.

In my defense, it was an easy assumption - shirts said “security”. But I was told it was as part the name of their company “Colorado Security Agency”.

— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) September 24, 2022

Last weekend, during a rally Trump held in Youngstown, Ohio, some rallygoers began raising their index fingers and pointing to Trump, in what some observers speculated was a nod to the QAnon conspiracy.

QAnon is a conspiracy theory contending that Trump is waging a secret campaign against an evil cabal of elites who secretly run the country and participate in satanic child-eating practices and pedophilia.

One man who raised his finger during the Wilmington rally Friday explained to Desjardins that the finger salute was a nod to "WWG1WGA," an acronym for “Where We Go One, We Go All," which is a QAnon phrase. He was also dismayed that his constitutional rights had been infringed upon by the "guest management" team.

Desjardins noted that there were fewer instances of the QAnon salute during the Wilmington rally than the Youngstown rally and surmised it was a result of the "guest management."

And this happened again - though less widespread.

— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) September 24, 2022

When the crowd holds up their fingers again at the Trump rally tonight to give the QAnon sign, security moves through them and has them put it down.

— Ron Filipkowski ???????? (@RonFilipkowski) September 24, 2022

Trump was in Wilmington Friday to stump for a slew of candidates in North Carolina, such as Senate candidate Ted Budd.


Over recent weeks, the former president has shared some content on his Truth Social platform laced with QAnon phrases and monograms. This includes a recent video that included a slew of memes with Trump's face behind a superimposed "Q" monogram.

His old 2016 rival Hillary Clinton recently jabbed at the QAnon raise during his Ohio rally last week, likening the act of the one-finger salute to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

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