The Republican Party’s defeat in the Virginia election was a “referendum” on President Trump’s administration, Republican congressman Scott Taylor has said.

Scott Taylor said Donald Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” led to the party’s defeat, expressing shock that “no-name” Democrats had won state legislative seats despite running weak campaigns.

In the Republican Party’s first major electoral defeat since Mr Trump entered the White House, Democrat Ralph Northam stormed to victory on Tuesday over Republican Ed Gillespie to become Governor of Virginia.

With 99% of the vote counted, Mr Northam had 54% and Mr Gillespie had 45%.

Speaking to reporters at Mr Gillespie’s election night party, Mr Taylor said: “I don’t know how you get around that this wasn’t a referendum on the administration

“Some of the very divisive rhetoric really prompted and helped usher in a really high Democratic turnout in Virginia.”

Mr Trump was quick to criticise Mr Gillespie, writing on Twitter while travelling in South Korea: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.

“Don’t forget, Republicans won four out of four House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”

Mr Taylor told reporters: “I know what the President tweeted. With all due respect to him I think he’s profoundly wrong in his tweet.

“I’m telling you that from someone who is from Virginia, who watched these races, who watched people lose tonight against opponents who are completely no name.”

He emphasised candidates should be vocal if they disagree with the president.

“If you don’t agree with it, say it,” Mr Taylor added. “Who the hell agrees with someone 100 per cent of the time?”


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