Staffer for GOP candidate for Virginia governor called Muslims 'murderous thugs'

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Matt Wolking is the communications director for Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.

Matt Wolking, a staffer for Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, operated a blog trafficking in anti-Muslim hate speech, smears, and conspiracy theories between 2008 and 2011.

Wolking was hired as communications director by Youngkin's campaign in January, the same month the former co-CEO of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group joined the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Recent polling has shown Youngkin ranked among the top two candidates in the Republican field. In a poll conducted May 5-6 by Change Research, Youngkin had support from 25% of respondents, second only to Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase. An April poll conducted by Public Policy Polling showed Youngkin only one percentage point behind Chase.

The nominee will be chosen at the Virginia GOP Convention on May 8.

Before joining Youngkin, Wolking worked as part of the rapid response team for Donald Trump's unsuccessful 2020 reelection campaign. He also has worked for Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Financial disclosures filed by the Youngkin campaign in April show that it has paid Wolking at least $23,745.

But from 2008 to 2011, Wolking operated a blog called "Wolking's World" on which he featured multiple bigoted posts about Islam and also promoted anti-Islam conspiracy theories.

In a post dated Feb. 28, 2008, Wolking said "over 90 million Muslims are murderous thugs," adding he considered that "a conservative estimate." That post also referred to Islam as "a religion whose followers danced in the streets on 9/11."

In April 2008, Wolking praised a leader of the Church of England who called for a moratorium on mosque construction, writing, "Somebody's awake." Addressing an official at the Muslim Council of Britain, Wolking wrote, "Give us ONE example of Muslims in a Muslim country 'working to build good ties between different communities.'" He concluded, "Your religion only calls for tolerance and 'good ties' when it's in the minority."

Referencing "Islamic Awareness Month" at the University of Miami in a March 2008 post, Wolking bemoaned "the Islamification of the University of Miami" and said the designation was a "problem." Wolking complained that Islam had been "afforded a special status" at the school.

In that post, Wolking cited the blog Atlas Shrugs as his source. That blog was operated by conspiracy theorist and Islamophobe Pamela Geller, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center described as "one of the most flamboyant anti-Muslim activists in the United States."

Wolking posted conspiracy theories about Muslims as well.

In a Feb. 20, 2008 post, Wolking alleged that then-Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was sending subliminal messages through the use of the colors green and yellow in his campaign materials.

"Does Keith Ellison's website subliminally use the colors of Islam to encourage support from the Muslim community in his district and across the US?" Wolking asked.

He went on to allege that it was not a coincidence that "the only Muslim member of Congress chose the colors of Islam as his campaign colors."

For "argument reinforcement purposes," Wolking included a graphic showing the flag of the militant group Hezbollah in the post attacking Ellison.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.