Virginia parents and parent advocates are blasting former President Barack Obama for condemning Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s focus on hot-button education and parent involvement issues during the campaign, dismissing them as “fake outrage.”
“We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage that right-wing media peddles to juice their ratings,” the former president said Saturday when campaigning for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, accusing Youngkin of avoiding “serious problems that affect serious people.”
Obama also suggested the outrage over some actions by school boards, such as the implementation of mask mandates and critical race theory, is unjustified.
“Instead of stoking anger aimed at school boards and administrators, who are just trying to keep our kids safe… we should be making it easier for teachers and schools to give our kids the world-class education they deserve, and to do so safely while they are in the classroom,” he said.
Parents quickly slammed the former president’s remarks, calling them “tone-deaf” and “laughable.”
“That is the most tone-deaf statement I have ever heard. First and foremost, everything that has come up with the cover-up in Loudoun County has to do with a sexual assault on girls. To say that this is trumped-up as a political thing is laughable,” Brandon Michon, a father of three in Loudoun County, told Fox News, referring to an alleged sexual assault case that was reportedly covered up by school board members in the county.
“Any parent, regardless of our political views — Republican, Democrat, Independent — wants our kids to go to school and be safe,” Michon said. “People are upset because Loudoun County covered up that they knew about sexual assaults and the question is, what else do we not know about?”
“It doesn’t feel like it’s culture war or fake outrage,” he added.
Another parent — Laura Zorc, director of education reform at Building Education for Students Together — called Obama “clearly clueless,” following his remarks.
“Obama is clearly clueless or intentionally misleading the crowd,” Zorc said.
“Parents are fed up with politics being forced down the throats of our kids,” she added. “Parental rights is on the ballot in Virginia. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – it’s a parents issue.”
“Parents are craving leadership that will protect them from the wokism. Youngkin is clearly the only candidate willing to fight for parents. Obama peddling this nonsense shows he is in denial that anything is wrong.”
With Virginia’s gubernatorial election just over a week away, one former state official predicts a “Republican sweep.” On Monday, former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News that he believed McAuliffe is in a hole in the blue state.
“Well, the first rule of holes is stop digging when you’re in one, and Terry McAuliffe is violating that rule. His little shtick on teachers has been long disproved by the left-wing fact-checkers. So I mean, this is a pretty desperate gambit,” Cuccinelli said.
The former attorney general noted that while top politicians, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have come to McAuliffe’s side to show their support, “nobody’s had to come in for Glenn Youngkin.”
“And look, I’ve won and I’ve lost statewide in Virginia, and right now, Virginia feels like winning for Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares. I think this is going to be a Republican sweep. That’s what it feels like right now, and I don’t see anything changing, certainly not the arrival of Joe Biden on this side of the Potomac to change that direction,” Cuccinelli said.
Next week, McAuliffe is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin who has received support from former President Donald Trump and his allies.
In recent weeks, Youngkin has caught up with McAuliffe in the polls, and the two are deadlocked at 48 percent with a week to go in the race, a Cygnal survey released Sunday showed.
Cuccinelli’s comments come as Harris has been slammed for a video released last week in churches across the state, where she urged viewers to submit their ballot for McAuliffe. The legality of the video has been called into question due to rules set by the Internal Revenue Service that prevent churches and charities from getting involved in political campaigns.
The law, approved by Congress in 1954, prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations — including churches and charities — from “engaging in any political campaign activity.”
“Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one ‘which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office,’ ” the IRS website states.
Former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder, the first Black governor of the commonwealth, noted the legality issue in comments to the Washington Examiner, while acknowledging the need for Black support for the Democratic candidate to win.
“Well, it’s very good for her to do that, causing these churches to lose their tax-exempt status,” the former Democratic governor said. “If this is legal, then it’s surprising to me.”
“In Virginia, the Democratic candidate has to have a strong turnout of black Americans. And if [McAuliffe] doesn’t get that, you’re going to see some problems,” he later added.