Governor's Campaign Takes Flak for Going After Teen

Tweet by Virginia's 'Team Youngkin' called out 17-year-old critic by name and photo
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2022 11:28 AM CST
Governor's Campaign Takes Flak for Going After Teen
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks during a news conference in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia's new Republican governor is taking some heat because his campaign called out a teenage critic by name and photo. The tweet was not put up by Gov. Glenn Youngkin but by his "Team Youngkin" staff, and it has since been deleted, reports the Washington Post. The controversy began when 17-year-old Ethan Lynne retweeted a story by Richmond public radio about Youngkin—it suggested he was ending efforts begun by his Democratic predecessors to highlight the former use of slaves at the governor's mansion.

After the teen's tweet, Team Youngkin fired back by showing him pictured at a Democratic fundraiser with former Gov. Ralph Northam. The tweet also referenced a Northam scandal: "Here's a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook," it read. Virginia Democrats quickly pounced and called out the governor's campaign for attacking a teenager—one who identifies himself as a "HS Senior" on his Twitter bio—and the tweet soon came down.

"It was brought to [our] attention that this Democrat Party official repeatedly elevated by Senator Louise Lucas as a source of official Democrat Party communications is actually a minor, so the tweet was removed," campaign spokesman Matt Wolking told the Post. The rationale behind the reference to him being a party "official" is apparently that Lucas had previously praised him as a young Democrat to follow on Twitter. Lynne also has worked as an unpaid volunteer for Democratic candidates and causes for years. The teen himself responded to the hoopla, notes the Hill.

story continues below

"It is disgusting, disturbing, and unbecoming of the Commonwealth to see the Governor and his office stoop to this low, especially on a public platform," he said in a statement. "They've deleted it, but I have received no communication from the Governor's office." Lucas, for her part, called it "cyberbullying of the worst kind." The initial radio report retweeted by the teen contained some inaccuracies, which is a whole other wormhole to follow in the Post account. (More Glenn Youngkin stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.