Home 2021 Elections On WAMU’s Politics Hour, Gov. Northam Rips Right Wing’s “Dog Whistle” Attacks...

On WAMU’s Politics Hour, Gov. Northam Rips Right Wing’s “Dog Whistle” Attacks on “Critical Race Theory,” Says We Need “Accurate Version of Our History” Taught and ” I Don’t Think That’s Been the Case”

Northam also rips Youngkin for being "cowardly" and "either out of touch with reality or...untruthful"


On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam appeared on WAMU’s Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood. Here are a few highlights from his comments:

  • On “how concerned should Virginians be about the Delta variant”: “Well, I would be very concerned, Kojo. And we’re watching this closely. You know, our number of new cases every day in Virginia has ticked up today. We’ve had over 400. At one point we were less than 100. Our positivity rate has gone up. Over half of our new cases are Delta. And as long as our vectors, in other words, as long as there are people out there that are unvaccinated these viruses, this COVID-19 virus will continue to survive. It will continue to mutate and we won’t be able to put it in the rearview mirror.”
  • “Do you foresee adding any additional COVID-19 restrictions?”: “Well, we have followed the CDC guidelines all along. We’ll continue to do that. Every day, Kojo, I get up and look at the numbers, and right now we’re in a good place. We’re certainly in much better place than we were over a year ago. Seventy-three percent of adults in Virginia have had at least one or both shots. We have 63 percent of adults who are completely vaccinated. So, you know, we’re in a good place. But, again, if these folks that are either on the fence or have not to get a vaccine, I would strongly encourage them to do so.”
  • On whether or not he’s open to putting a “vaccine passport” in place in Virginia: “Robert, we certainly have a lot of options on the table. We have put so much emphasis and we’ve have so many good people, volunteers, etc, with our vaccination clinics and overall they have done well. I’ve talked before — you know, we can talk about sticks versus carrots. I’m a carrot person. I really encourage to get out there and do the right thing for themselves, for their families, for their neighbors, etc. So we had the vaccines available in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as I said earlier, three safe and effective vaccines. So I really encourage everybody to get out there and do the right thing and take a shot.”
  • “Will students or teacher at K through 12 schools be required to receive the vaccine?”: “Well, they’re not. It’s not a mandate, Kojo. But as folks know in Virginia those that are age 12 and above have been approved by the FDA to receive the vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine. And we should hear in the next month to month and a half from the FDA regarding children younger than 12. And we’re certainly encouraging them to take advantage of that. There also have been a lot of questions about wearing masks in schools. We have an executive order that people will continue to wear masks in our K through 12 systems through July 25th.”
  • Thoughts on “Critical Race Theory”: “I would say that it’s a political battle unfortunately. But, just to put things in perspective, critical race theory, it’s a graduate level academic subject that is not a part of our K through 12 curriculum in Virginia. I’ll repeat that. It is not a part of our K through 12 curriculum. And frankly, Tom, I think it’s a dog whistle. And it’s being used by folks who want to scare people in an election year. And, what I’m interested in and what our administration is interested in is teaching an accurate version of our history. And, we’ve made a lot of progress on that. We have a lot of history in Virginia. We were the birth place of the American experiment. But we were also the capitol of the confederacy. So students deserve to learn the truth about where we’ve been so we can build a better future and so that we can understand each other’s cultures and all be in this together…we’re working with the Department of Education looking at the curriculum making sure…that what we teach our students regarding history is adequate and also accurate. And, I don’t think that’s been the case. And so we want folks to learn about each other’s cultures, again, as I just said so that we know where we’ve been so that we can build a better future.”
  • On Glenn Youngkin refusing to answer questions and skipping out on the Virginia Bar Association debate: “Well, I don’t think Mr. Youngkin wants to answer the questions that Virginians need to hear answers for. And, you know, he’s been talking this past week about — that I and Governor McAuliffe have run the state into a ditch. Well, we were just named the number one state in this great country of our in which to do business. So, Mr. Youngkin is either out of touch with reality or he’s being untruthful. And, you know, we just had a president, Tom, that was untruthful to Americans for four years. And we do not need a governor that is going to be untruthful and he needs to come forward. He needs to answer questions and what a great debate that is that the Bar Association has. And for him to duck out of that that’s the beginning of the campaign season historically. It’s a very fair debate. Judy Woodruff, she was the moderator when Mr. Gillespie and I debated. There were no complaints at all. So this excuse that he’s coming up with to not be in a debate I just think it’s very cowardly. And I hope he changes his ways especially if he wants to be governor of this great commonwealth.”
  • On Youngkin’s cynical, calculated refusal to talk about his opposition to abortion because he thinks it will cost him votes: “Well, obviously women and their providers should be in charge of their reproductive healthcare. And we as men especially don’t need to be telling women what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies. But back to Mr. Youngkin you can’t have it both ways. So, you know, he’s got to be straight up with the Virginians. They expect someone who is authentic, someone who tells the truth.”
  • On how to allocated billions of dollars in rescue plan money: “…we are working with the money leaders in both the House and the Senate on how we distribute the rescue money as you said $4.3 billion. And certainly small business, I already mentioned broadband, you know, financial aid for our higher education in Virginia for our colleges and universities. Mental health is very important. There have been a lot of people who were affected by COVID-19 and then unemployment…we’ll be putting money into our G3 program to make sure that people can go to our community colleges without incurring any debt. Early education is something that we put a lot of emphasis on. “
  • On VMI: “I thought some of the reports were very, very disturbing. And I expect Virginians did as well. So VMI is addressing the racial issues. Also addressing the sexual issues especially abuse of women. And they have a lot of work to do. They realized that. The board is focused on improving these situations. But, whether it be VMI or any other college or university in Virginia, we want to embrace and promote diversity. We want to embrace inclusivity and make sure that all of our students, staff, faculty, etc. are welcome and feel comfortable on our college campuses. So that’s what the Democratic Party will pursue and VMI is certainly one of those colleges.”



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