Virginia Gov. Youngkin gives speech at UVA Law criticizing Washington politics, and colleges

FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks during a news conference about an executive order establishing K through 12 lab schools at the Capitol Thursday Jan. 27, 2022, in Richmond, Va. A judge on Friday, Feb. 4, temporarily halted an executive order by Republican Gov. Youngkin that allowed parents to opt out of school mask mandates for their children. The temporary restraining order means that mask mandates put in place by school boards may remain, at least for now. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was in Charlottesville on Friday on the grounds of the University of Virginia.

He addressed students of The Federalist Society, a conservative law organization, and had choice words for some key institutions.

Youngkin made the UVA School of Law visit one of his first stops in the Charlottesville area since he was sworn into office, and he used it as a chance to tout many of the same messages.

“I want to talk about federalism, individual rights, and the rule of law,” Youngkin said.

Speaking at a symposium evaluating the historic role of federalism in the US, the governor repeatedly touted the commonwealth’s rollback of mask mandates in schools.

He continued to do so on a one-on-one interview with NBC29.

“Go work on the things that we think Virginians sent us here to do, and empowering parents to make decisions for their children was right at the top of the list,” Youngkin said.

Using the unmasking actions as a top achievement, Youngkin preached the importance of state government, while blasting Washington.

He said the “rhetoric of the impending demise of democracy” can be overblown, “but we have to admit when you watch the extremism and the dysfunction in Washington these days a reaction of discouragement, even alarm sometimes, seems justified.”

As he gave this speech on the grounds of one of Virginia’s largest universities, he faulted colleges too.

“When they arrive do students find these communities to be open, welcoming to diverse ideas?” he asked. “Are they encouraged, equipped, and empowered to think for themselves and express the views without fear? Or are they more often subjected to a stifling conformity?”

Youngkin continued by saying the greatest threat to democracy is not from tyrants abroad like Putin, but rather cancel culture in this country.

“The greatest threat to our democracy today comes not from tyrants abroad, but let me tell you Vladimir Putin is a tyrant,” Youngkin said. “The greatest threat to our democracy comes from a growing tendency to loathe rather than listen. It comes from a desire to bully and not persuade. Such a culture of contempt, this cancel culture, is toxic to our democracy, and unless the schools that exist to teach our young people take responsibility for being a solution, our democracy will indeed be in danger.”

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