The governor of West Virginia, in a stunning move that echoes the Civil War-era creation of his state, on Tuesday invited Virginia counties upset with Richmond’s liberal, anti-gun turn to shift borders and join his state.
“If you out there, no matter where you be, Virginia or wherever you may be, as an individual or a business or whatever, West Virginia is waiting for you with open arms,” said Gov. Jim Justice.
“Our state supports personal freedom, and we value the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn. Come join us. You will never regret it,” he added at a press conference in Martinsburg, West Virginia, 13 miles from the border with a Virginia county where some officials are open to joining West Virginia.
He also said that West Virginia embraces President Trump, who is despised by many federal workers in Northern Virginia that have a big impact on statewide elections. “We should be thankful for all he’s done,” he said.
Justice’s statement endorsing secession was an unexpected but ringing endorsement of legislation before the West Virginia legislature that would let Virginia border counties join the state.
It has become such a hot topic along the border that the White House and President Trump are paying attention to it, according to sources.
It was offered as a long-shot package by Republican Del. Gary Howell after the Virginia voters put their legislature in Democratic hands for the first time in years. In just a few weeks, they have voted for several liberal initiatives including gun control, prompting a massive 22,000-strong, pro-gun rally at the capital in Richmond.