September 27, 2021 News & Press Releases

ICYMI: Glenn Youngkin’s New Ads Feature “Anti-Vaccine and Anti-Mask” Stars Not Named Glenn Youngkin

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA — Today, a new report revealed that the stars of Glenn Youngkin’s new television ads have publicly championed dangerous anti-mask and anti-vaccine rhetoric, just like Glenn. This is consistent with Youngkin’s far-right track record on vaccines and COVID. 

Youngkin has urged Virginians to opt-out of vaccine requirements for “whatever reason” and opposes common sense COVID safety measures the majority of Virginians support. Virginia doctors have condemned Glenn for advancing this dangerous rhetoric throughout his campaign. Youngkin is also bankrolling and emboldening anti-vaccine Republican candidates.

See key excerpts below and read the full report here.

Salon: Trump-backed Virginia candidate's new ads feature "anti-vaccine and anti-mask" stars
By Igor Derysh 

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has unveiled new ads starring Virginians who have embraced anti-vaccine and anti-mask rhetoric, even as Youngkin tries to push back on Democratic criticism of his "Trumpian" pandemic policy.

Youngkin, a former private equity CEO who is using his wealth to fund his campaign, has helped bankroll anti-vaccine Republican candidates and urged "everyone who does not want to get the vaccine for whatever reason" to seek an exemption from mandates. He drew criticism earlier this month from Virginia doctors after opposing vaccine requirements and vowing to reverse Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's policy requiring schools to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [...]

One of the doctors, Peter Zedler, has echoed anti-mask rhetoric on his Facebook page, writing last year that "'Controlling the virus' is just nonsense." In another post, he criticized Biden for not pursuing herd immunity through uncontrolled infection, a strategy that medical experts have warned could kill millions. Earlier this year, Zedler was also $300 by the Virginia Republican Party for "vote tabulations" after the party nominated Youngkin in May. [...]

Another one of the doctors in Youngkin's ad, Georgeanne Long, was among the hosts for a Youngkin fundraiser featuring former Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday, meaning she and her husband would have had to donate at least $25,000. Her husband previously donated more than $3,000 to Youngkin's campaign.

Another new Youngkin ad features Loudoun County teacher Paul Troth, who has repeatedly pushed anti-vaccine talking points on his Facebook page. Troth has railed against "sheep" who support vaccine requirements while repeatedly posting the slogan "My body, my choice." In other posts he compared the vaccines to dangerous discontinued drugs that were approved by the Food and Drug Administration decades earlier, calling vaccine requirements "forced vaccinations." Troth has also praised Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for refusing the vaccine, described Biden as the "epitome of tyranny," and posted a meme claiming that "Trump was right" about hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial medication that has no proven benefit against Covid and has been found to cause heart problems, blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries and liver problems, according to the FDA. Troth has also complained about new protections for transgender students in his school district, calling it a "disgrace" and a "clown show."

"Glenn Youngkin's track record consists of sowing doubt about the vaccine, emboldening anti-vaccine extremists, and advancing reckless policies that would prolong the pandemic," Manuel Bonder, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party, said in a statement to Salon. "His decision to put anti-vaccine and anti-mask actors on television is nothing if not consistent with his dangerous, Trumpian agenda." [...]

While Youngkin has run pro-vaccine PSAs alongside the ad with doctors criticizing McAuliffe, his vaccine-themed ads made up just 11% of his total TV advertising over the last week and a half, according to Politico. Youngkin's campaign has largely focused on his sheriff endorsements and his proposal to eliminate the state's grocery tax. By comparison, more than 60% of McAuliffe's ads have focused on vaccines.