Feb 8, 2022 - News

Tweet mocking teen is latest stumble for Glenn Youngkin

Gov. Glenn Youngkin at a podium being inaugurated
Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin began his fourth week in office walking back a tweet from his campaign account that attacked a teenager.

Why it matters: Since taking office, Youngkin has had an uphill climb in a state that went strongly for a Democratic president — while he has dug deeper into divisive culture war issues that include targeting how schools teach about race.

  • A judge in Arlington last week temporarily blocked his mask-optional order in at least seven districts that sued him. (The state’s high court yesterday dismissed a separate lawsuit against his order, but on technical grounds that didn’t weigh in on its legality.)
  • A popular campaign rallying cry to abolish the state’s tax on groceries has hit a wall in Richmond, where Democrats still control the Senate and Youngkin is yet to make overtures across the aisle for a compromise.
  • A visit to an Alexandria grocery store to drum up support for the tax cut was overshadowed by a viral video of a woman heckling him for not wearing a mask.

Driving the news: Youngkin's campaign Twitter account on Saturday mocked 17-year-old high school student Ethan Lynne, who had posted about the resignation of a U.S. slavery historian who worked at the governor’s mansion.

  • The Team Youngkin account tweeted a picture of Ethan with former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, writing, “here’s a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook.”
  • Matt Wolking, one of Youngkin’s political aides, told the Post the tweet was deleted after learning “this Democrat Party official … is actually a minor.”
  • Youngkin didn’t address the issue until Monday, when he tweeted from his personal account that the original post was “an unauthorized tweet” from the campaign. “I regret that this happened and it shouldn’t have,” he said. “I have addressed it with my team.”

Youngkin’s office yesterday did not return a request for comment.

What they’re saying: “Those Virginians who imagined they were electing a Larry Hogan to govern south of the Potomac are clearly not finding that to be the case,” said University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth, referring to the moderate Republican governor of Maryland.

  • “Youngkin may campaign like Hogan, but he’s governing much more like Florida governor Ron DeSantis.”
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