August 13, 2021 News & Press Releases

New Reporting Highlights Glenn Youngkin’s Dangerous Anti-COVID Safety Agenda

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA — Today, new reporting in The Washington Post is highlighting just how dangerous Glenn Youngkin’s extreme anti-COVID safety agenda truly is. While Terry McAuliffe leads by example in his campaign and urges everyone to be vaccinated, Glenn Youngkin is modeling himself after Ron DeSantis and coddling anti-vaccine extremists — a dangerous posture that threatens all Virginians. 

This reporting illustrates how Youngkin is prioritizing his right wing politics over the health and safety of Virginians. See key excerpts below and read the full report here.

The Washington Post: Candidates for Virginia governor take opposite positions on mask and vaccine mandates
By Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella

[...] Democrat Terry McAuliffe favors requiring masks and shots in certain cases as a science-based path out of a public health and economic crisis. Republican Glenn Youngkin opposes any mandates as a matter of individual liberty and parental rights. [...]

McAuliffe announced this week that he’s requiring his campaign staff to be vaccinated. He also called on private health care providers to require vaccination for their employees and supports outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam’s vaccine-or-testing mandate on state workers. [...]

Youngkin, meanwhile, has pushed back against any effort to require students to wear masks at schools, saying that decision should be left up to parents. When asked in a radio interview earlier this month if he would follow the lead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and forbid local school boards officials from requiring masks, he said he would, proclaiming that “there should be no mask mandates in Virginia.” [...]

“It strikes me that Youngkin is doing all he can to try to activate the Trump-loyal base of the Republican Party as though that’s going to win a statewide election for him, and I find that puzzling,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. [...]

“I think it’s disgraceful Glenn Youngkin would be taking advice and guidance from Ron DeSantis,” McAuliffe said in an interview with The Post. He cited Florida’s current plight as one of the top states for infections, and noted its nation-leading spike in children hospitalized with covid-19. [...]

Fredericks, who oversees a pro-Trump news site called the Virginia Star, praised Florida’s DeSantis for threatening to withhold funding from Broward County Public Schools for imposing a local mask mandate.

“Would you, as governor of Virginia, do what DeSantis did and say, ‘No mask mandates in Virginia’?” Fredericks asked.

“Yeah, I believe there should be no mask mandates in Virginia,” Youngkin replied. “I think these are decisions that should be up to individuals.” [...]

He sounded a little more indifferent on Feb. 6, speaking to the Tidewater Libertarian Party, when he said of the vaccine: “You want it? Take it. If you don’t want it? Don’t take it. But here we have — we have the teachers union saying we can’t open schools. Well, give them the vaccine and get them back in school.”

Youngkin has criticized Virginia universities that have required students to be vaccinated, encouraging those who are opposed to claim exemptions offered by some campuses.

“I’m really frustrated with our universities across Virginia who are requiring the vaccine in order to come back to class,” he said in a speech on education policy on June 11. “We should encourage anyone who does not want to get the vaccine for whatever reason … to fill out the exception form.” [...]

Farnsworth, of Mary Washington, said Youngkin and McAuliffe are both taking predictable positions for their respective parties. But he cautioned that while voters are undoubtedly weary of pandemic restrictions, there’s a major difference between now and a year ago: the widely available vaccines.

Voters might not like being told what to do, he said, but “as hospitals once again fill with patients, there is a growing rage in this country about people who haven’t been vaccinated.”