Early in 2022, former governor Paul LePage strolls alongside supporters to the Maine State House to turn petitions for a reelection bid. The Maine Beacon Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, needs to decide what kind of racial leader he wants to be. His contradictory messages could make you dizzy.
Youngkin recently made a big deal out of an extraordinary alliance that will help Petersburg, a 33,000-person city just south of Richmond with a majority-Black population that has long struggled. This is a moment of hope for a place that has experienced a great deal of sadness. In my article, I claimed that, despite the partnership’s obvious political overtones, Petersburg residents merely wanted outcomes and welcomed the assistance.
However, the Republican governor, who has only been in office for a little over a year, will campaign on Wednesday for former Maine governor Paul LePage, whose racial remarks and violent threats against perceived opponents have garnered national attention at least since 2016. This is Youngkin’s most recent trip outside his home state as he works to elevate his federal status.
Later, we’ll talk more about LePage’s unmatched “charm.” However, Youngkin alone is responsible for his double-dealing behavior toward persons of color. His long list of inconsistencies was recently detailed in The Washington Post: While promoting his plans for lab schools at historically Black colleges, he fought against the idea of “racial fairness” in educational policy.
As governor, I serve all Virginians. I won’t accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party. The abhorrent words of a Hampton Roads official are beyond unacceptable and have no place in Virginia. It’s time to resign. https://t.co/w2pnl95jrl
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) April 9, 2022
When addressing laws, practices, and norms that have privileged White people in Virginia and across the country, he appears to get downright uncomfortable with the idea of equity. As evidence, consider that his first executive order outlawed critical race theory even though Virginia’s K–12 public school curriculum did not include the study of structural racism.
Youngkin has collaborated with ministers of color. However, he chose Dr. Colin Greene as the state’s health commissioner despite his belief that talking about racism alienates White people. African-Americans were incensed because they suffered from unfair treatment and unequal health outcomes.
(In one well-known case in the country, a Black doctor who later passed away from COVID-19 claimed that a White doctor had minimized her cries of suffering. The statements made by Dr. Susan Moore, who had treatment in a hospital in the Indianapolis suburbs, were published on Facebook.)
The Post report also provided further instances of Youngkin’s fragmentation. I understand that there are benefits to appealing to a significant segment of the voters. Youngkin’s focus on cultural concerns, such as public education, assisted his ascent to the governor’s office. The same happened when he pretended not to acknowledge that Democrat Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election during the Republican primary process.
His supporters demanded candidate acceptance of Donald Trump’s repeated lies about the outcome. But there’s no need for LePage to stump for himself. Youngkin could maintain his conservative credentials and keep his name in front of national voters without endorsing a bigot and a bully.
Perhaps you don’t know much about Maine, a Northeastern state with a much smaller population than Virginia (1.3 million people), or LePage, a former two-term governor. He is campaigning for the top position there once more. You probably don’t give a damn unless you’re eating a Maine lobster.
However, Youngkin’s ignorance of the frequently insane racist he is defending is hardly a justification. Youngkin might have been able to decline this invitation and save his ammunition for a more deserving Republican.
Racist stereotypes and lies are mixed in LePage’s “best hits.” In Maine, 94% were White, and he said that Black or Hispanic people made up more than 90% of those detained for drug trafficking. According to the statistics he gave in his binder, the assertion wasn’t accurate.
A young White lady is often “impregnated by an out-of-state drug trafficker before they leave,” the former governor claimed, calling Black and Hispanic people “the enemy” and referring to them as “the enemy.” The last assertion is particularly heinous in light of the history of lynchings of Black males in this nation, frequently resulting from false rape charges.
For a Democratic state representative back then, he left a menacing voicemail. LePage claimed he missed the times when a duel would have allowed him to take out the Democrat. LePage was back at it on the campaign trail this year. A Democratic Party employee who the candidate claimed was creeping on him was under threat of being “decked.”
Violence is used to resolve conflicts. According to the Maine Democratic Party, a staff research associate is the one who recorded the video. Political parties frequently record their rivals on camera, as former senator George Allen is all too familiar thanks to an event in 2006.
When asked last week about his decision to travel to Maine to assist LePage, Youngkin responded, “What I’m trying to do is help Republicans win,” according to The Washington Post. He claimed he was unaware of any controversy surrounding the politician from Maine’s remarks. Such ignorance challenges belief. LePage’s public record is simple to locate. Conduct a web search.
If you’re busy trying on the newest red vest—the 2022 edition—have your assistants do it. Youngkin ought to have skipped this one. He either cares about assisting Black and brown people. Or the governor intends to exploit them as scapegoats and props. He cannot be right both times.