The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.
I regret to inform you that Glenn Youngkin has finally made a mistake. The Republican golden boy has been riding high since his surprise elevation to the governorship in Virginia some years ago, and to that effect, he’s enjoyed broad approval across the different factions of the GOP. But there will always be bumps in the road, and Youngkin’s recent CNN-hosted town hall with Jake Tapper was a big one.
Before we get to Youngkin’s answers, many of which left much to be desired, I think it’s important to deal with the elephant in the room first.
Why in the world is a budding Republican star providing free content to CNN? Was Youngkin not sentient when Tapper ambushed Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch over the Parkland shooting, resulting in one of the most grotesque scenes to ever happen in modern politics? I believe he was, which makes his decision to repeat the same mistake all the more baffling.
Nothing that happened during his appearance was surprising. Tapper played his role as a “really serious journalist” who tees up ridiculously biased questions from planted audience members. In response, Youngkin didn’t seem very prepared, which brings me to the biggest viral moment of the night.
In case you are understandably confused, CNN went out and found a 17-year-old girl who says she’s a boy to berate Youngkin. According to her, using a bathroom that matches her biological sex would make girls uncomfortable, therefore she should be able to use the boy’s restroom. You know, because a bowl-cut and some hormone treatments are all it takes to change genders these days. Still, this was an opportunity for the governor to lay his cards on the table and speak some hard but necessary truths.
He could have said, “look, I sympathize with your plight, but you are a girl, and you do not have a right to enter a bathroom meant for the opposite sex.” He didn’t do that. Instead, Youngkin said that the solution is gender-neutral bathrooms.
Why is that a problem? Because it concedes the entire argument over transgender ideology to the left. It is an acceptance that the right way to treat gender dysmorphia, specifically in children, is to create accommodations that affirm their mental illness. That’s exactly what many of us in the conservative movement have been fighting against, and Youngkin just gives up that ground in an instant. It’s inexplicable, especially given he’s been billed as a truth-teller on contentious cultural topics.
Unfortunately, that version of Youngkin was nowhere to be found in this town hall. Instead, you’d have been forgiven for thinking Mitt Romney was on stage.
For example, when pressed on gun violence by Tapper, Youngkin chose to brag about the “strict gun laws” in his state while praising the existence of red flag provisions. In another instance, Tapper challenged the governor with an explanation of supposed systemic racism pulled straight from The 1619 Project. Youngkin responded by saying it should be taught in schools.
Now, my assumption is that he was simply fumbling over his answer and didn’t realize what he said, but that’s kind of the point. Youngkin wasn’t ready for this, and the easiest way he could have rectified that is to not hand his enemies undeserved propaganda in the first place. This shouldn’t have to be continually said, but CNN is not your friend. They are not going to operate in good faith, and you are helping them mislead people by playing their game.
If Republicans take anything from Ron DeSantis, it should be that icing out a hostile press is the only way. There is nothing to be gained by taking a beating from Jake Tapper on a low-rated town hall, only being broadcast to liberal households and airports. If Youngkin has any further ambitions outside of Virginia (where the moderate schtick he displayed is actually of political value), he’d better learn that lesson. Because right now, he’s showing himself to not be ready for primetime.