Liberal media scolds Youngkin for fulfilling campaign promise to end mask mandates in schools

Media top headlines January 17

In media news today, a Utah newspaper calls for the National Guard to prevent the unvaccinated from going anywhere, lawmakers call on NBC to cover human rights protests during the Winter Olympics in China, and CNN frets about Biden’s press treatment.

Liberal journalists and pundits have scolded newly sworn-in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R., for issuing an executive order allowing parents to choose whether their child wears a mask in school or not despite the Republican promising to do so throughout his 2020 campaign. 

“So much for the silly narrative that Youngkin was some normal R. As @TerryMcAuliffe predicted, he’s brought DeSantis anti-mask nuttery to VA. Now at war with several school districts. He’s only been in office a few days. Hey, VA this is what you voted for. Best of luck,” Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin tweeted.

In a separate tweet, Rubin called the governor “either ignorant, just playing the MAGA crowd or both” and declared he’s “about to find out” how government works. 

Liberal journalists and pundits have scolded newly sworn-in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin for issuing an executive order allowing parents to choose whether their child wears a mask in school.
(REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, a former CNN pundit, also found an issue with Youngkin fulfilling his campaign promise by issuing an executive order from some of Virginia’s bluer areas, including Psaki’s home of Arlington County, as well as Fairfax, Alexandria, and Richmond to allow parents to opt out of school mask mandates.

“Hi there,” Psaki tweeted from her personal account. “Arlington [County] parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong). Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant.”

Current CNN political pundit Joe Lockhart took things further, declaring that “kids will die” because if Youngkin. 

“Republicans love to say Youngkin is the example of a new Republican. What does he do first. – encourages kids to go to school without a mask. Kids will die. See, same old Republican,” Lockhart wrote. 

NBC News correspondent Heidi Przybyla criticized the timing of Youngkin’s executive order.

“What makes @GlennYoungkin different from other GOP govs who’ve banned mask mandates is the timing — amid the most infectious variant yet, as record numbers of kids are being hospitalized and staffing shortages are crippling schools,” Przybyla wrote. 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, center, signs executive orders in the Governors conference room as Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, left, Suzanne Youngkin, Second from left, Attorney General Jason Miyares, second from right, and Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kay Cole James, right, look on at the Capitol Saturday Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The NBC News correspondent also sent multiple tweets focusing on reported school staff shortages and studies on the effectiveness of masks.

Przybyla was quick to comment on Virginia’s new governor after being quiet on the last one. According to a search, the left-leaning correspondent didn’t send a single tweet mentioning former Gov. Ralph Northam, D., after he took office in 2018.

Podcast host Rachel Vindman added, “.@GlennYoungkin’s children go to school in Maryland. I’m not going to shame anyone for their school choices, but #Virginia parents should know. The fleece vests and folksy charm are an act–he is NOT one of us.”

Raw Story reporter Matthew Chapman called the governor a “clown” for fulfilling his promise to voters. 

“Youngkin ran on letting people locally decide how their schools are run, and on week one he’s strongarming a school district to try to kill its mask mandate,” Chapman wrote. “This clown is everything we warned he would be.” 

Daily Beast left-wing columnist Wajahat Ali chimed in, “But at least white and suburban parents can rest easy knowing their infected child won’t be reading Toni Morrison novels. White supremacy… self destructive as always.” 

The order from Youngkin, whose victory was powered in part by parents fed up with coronavirus mandates and lockdowns, does not prevent students from wearing masks in schools, as some progressives have argued at times. Rather, it allows them to opt out if they choose: “The parents of any child enrolled in a elementary or secondary school or a school based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”

The order does not go into effect until January 24. Youngkin says this gives school districts enough time to implement new policies.

School buses lined up in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Richmond, Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington counties have all said their mask policies remain in effect following Youngkin’s executive order, but the governor vowed to fight back.

“We will use every resource within the Governor’s authority to explore what we can do and what we will do in order to make sure parent’s rights are protected,” Youngkin said.

Youngkin took the oath of office as Virginia’s 74th Governor Saturday, the first Republican since Bob McDonnell served from 2010 to 2014.

Fox News’ Kim Anderson contributed to this report. 

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