Governor Takes Flak After Gaffe With Black Legislators

Virginia's Glenn Youngkin apologizes after mixing up two women
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2022 10:07 AM CST
Governor Apologizes After Mixing Up Black Legislators
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Virginia's new Republican governor reached out across the aisle this week to praise veteran lawmaker Sen. L. Louise Lucas for her speech on Black History Month. One problem: It was a different Black legislator, Sen. Mamie E. Locke, who delivered the speech in question, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I had the floor speeches on while doing too many things at once,” Glenn Youngkin said in a statement released by his office. “I made a mistake and I apologized to Senator Lucas right away.” Still, the governor is taking flak over the miscue, including from Lucas, who initially let it slide.

Lucas showed her exchange of texts with Youngkin to the Washington Post. He praised her for the speech, she corrected him, and he apologized and thanked her for the head's up. It might have stayed private between them, but Lucas went public a few days later because she felt Youngkin and Republicans were engaging in unfair politics in regard to Democratic appointees on various state boards. She tweeted about the mistake along with side-by-side images of herself and Locke. “Study the photos and you will get this soon!” she wrote.

The Post adds context: The new governor "has gotten off on the wrong foot with some Black legislators" over his policies, including a first-day edict to ban the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms. (As defined by the newspaper, CRT is a "graduate-level study of systemic racism that has become a catchphrase for what conservatives regard as unduly race-conscious K-12 lessons and teacher training.") Arne Duncan, education secretary under Barack Obama, was among those ribbing Youngkin publicly: “Maybe a few courses in [Critical Race Theory] might be beneficial," he wrote of the governor, per the Times-Dispatch. (This incident involving a teen didn't sit well with Youngkin critics, either.)

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