Youngkin responds to ‘unauthorized’ Twitter reply to minor, strives to ‘bring Virginians together’

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin admitted to an “unauthorized” tweet from his campaign after backlash over a controversial response to a high school student’s criticism which turned out to be premature.

The Republican lawmaker stepped into the fray on Monday after his team came under fire on social media and direct criticism from the 17-year-old who called out the governor and his campaign for “disgusting, disturbing, and unbecoming” behavior in a since-deleted tweet.

Ethan Lynne had posted a comment on Twitter on Saturday in response to a report from VPM, Richmond’s public radio station, that a historian had resigned. That report, incidentally, was later updated to note the information was not exactly correct.

“Shameful,” Lynne remarked in his tweet after summarizing the report. “The historian tasked with teaching about slavery at the Virginia Governors Mansion just resigned after finding the Youngkins converted her classroom into a family room – and emptied her office.”

Youngkin’s campaign Twitter account replied to the tweet with a photo of Lynne and former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) with a picture of Northam in blackface out of his yearbook that surfaced in 2019.

The deleted tweet from Team Youngkin read, “Here’s a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook,” The Washington Post reported.

Lynne, whose Twitter bio states he is “Now: @vasenate intern” responded to the campaign account saying, “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.”

“They’ve deleted it,” Lynne went on, “but I have received no communication from the Governor’s office.”

Democrat president pro tempore of the VA Senate, Louise Lucas, had a meltdown over the tweet.

“As a mother I don’t understand how this tweet could still be up, and how the Governor has not publicly apologized yet.”  She went on to add, “This is cyber bullying of the worst kind, a Governor of Virginia against a child.”

Spokesman Matt Wolking stated the Youngkin campaign removed the tweet after learning Lynne was a minor.

“It was brought to [our] attention,” Wolking said, according to the Post, “that this Democrat Party official elevated by Senator Louise Lucas as a source of official Democrat Party communications is actually a minor, so the tweet was removed.”

Youngkin tweeted his “regret” in response to the controversy and explained that he had discussed it with his team.

“On Saturday night, an unauthorized tweet came from a campaign account. I regret that this happened and it shouldn’t have. I have addressed it with my team. We must continue to work to bring Virginians together. There is so much more that unites us than divides us,” he noted.

Lucas said the apology was “much better” but noted in a follow-up tweet that the teen deserved a direct apology as well.

Lynne continued to push the outrage, tweeting that while the governor acknowledged the situation, he “did not apologize and did not condemn what happened over the weekend. I still hope he does, and that he will take time to recognize the culture of toxicity he has created within his first month of office.”

But amidst all the brouhaha, another piece of relevant information came to light as Youngkin’s press secretary soon noted.

Lynne soon acknowledged on Twitter that “it appears the ‘family’ room thing is TBD, still looks as though her office was emptied however…..,” referring to a correction noted by the author of the VPM story, Ben Paviour.

A correction was noted at the top of the VPM piece as well:

“An earlier version of this story said Kelley Fanto Deetz believed an educational space in the Executive Mansion had been turned into a family room by Youngkin’s staff.  We’ve updated the story with clarification from Youngkin’s spokesperson noting that the space is not used for the purpose,” it read.

Furthermore, the story is merely speculating on the reason for her resignation as it states, “Deetz declined to comment on the decision beyond confirming it.”


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