Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) campaign came under fire for a tweet criticizing a high school student commenting on reports that the new governor was pulling back on efforts to highlight the history of enslaved people at the Executive Mansion.
On Saturday, 17-year-old Ethan Lynne tweeted about a report from VPM, Richmond’s public radio station, that said the historian who served as the Executive Mansion’s director of education was resigning after her office was cleared out.
Later that afternoon, Youngkin’s campaign responded to the tweet with a photo of Lynne posing with former Gov. Ralph Northam (D), along with another image of Northam’s medical school yearbook, showing him posing in blackface, that initially emerged in 2019.
“Here’s a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook,” Team Youngkin’s official Twitter account said in a tweet that was deleted Sunday morning, the Washington Post reported.
Lynne released a statement Sunday blasting the governor’s campaign account.
“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” the 17-year-old said. “They’ve deleted it, but I have received no communication from the Governor’s office.”
Louise Lucas, the Democratic president pro tempore of the state Senate, described the campaign’s tweet as “cyber bullying of the worst kind.”
“As a mother I don’t understand how this tweet could still be up, and how the Governor has not publicly apologized yet. This is cyber bullying of the worst kind, a Governor of Virginia against a child,” she said before the campaign’s tweet was deleted.
“This is as low as it gets. Attacking a student. This will be remembered forever,” she added in another tweet.
Matt Wolking, a Youngkin campaign spokesman, said the tweet was removed after learning that Lynne, whose Twitter bio identifies him as a high school senior, was a minor. In his response, Wolking referred to Lynne a “Democrat Party official.”
“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,” Wolking said, according to the Post.
Lucas had previously promoted Lynne a teen Democrat to watch on Twitter, according to the Post.
The Hill has reached out to Youngkin’s office for comment.