As we all know, Glenn Youngkin today has moved hard right in pretty much every area – education, environment, diversity, equity, you name it. Today, Youngkin also bashes Communist China constantly (even killing a multi-billion dollar investment by Ford in Southside) – despite the fact that many major Virginia businesses (including McGuireWoods, Smithfield Foods, and others who are friendly with Youngkin) have close ties with China – and in general has been desperate to keep up with his rivals in the Trumpified Republican Party – Trump himself, Ron DeSantis, etc.
Yet literally just a year before he started running for governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin in 2020 – while still a top executive at the Carlyle Group (where he was pushed out in July 2020 after making “bad bets”) – was singing a VERY different tune on China, and on pretty much all the stuff he now derogatorily refers to with the all-purpose far-right pejorative word, “woke” (whatever that even means. For instance, check out this interview in May 2020 (major “hat tip” to Tyson Brody for tweeting about this!), in which Youngkin said a bunch of stuff that really, really doesn’t sound like the Glenn Youngkin we know and most certainly do NOT love today!
- “when you actually embrace a lot of the basic inputs of diversity of thought, lowering carbon footprint, thinking about how to save energy, trying to increase efficiency, you just get better outcomes“
- “So, we felt that one of the big steps we needed to take was to make diversity and inclusion not a program at Carlyle but to embed it in the way we think about how to grow Carlyle. We were really fortunate, gosh a year and a half ago now to be able to bring in just a rock star Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer, a woman named Kara Helander, and she joined us and really we’ve just systematically gone through our whole firm and spent time thinking about how to do a much better job at this.“
- “there are companies that in fact you can take a company that’s not so great at it and make it much better on an ESG scorecard and you create value. You can take a business that in fact the whole business plan is around some very innovative ESG strategy.”
- “There’s a company we own called Jeanologia which is in Spain that basically makes jeans look acid-washed, but they’ve come up with this really cool technology that reduces the amount of water and doesn’t use a lot of chemicals and it’s just a spectacularly fast-growing company. And, by the way, they’ve done some great things during the COVID-19 epidemic to use their capacity to really help their communities.”
- “And, similarly, when we take a business – and I’ll go back to energy – you take a business that, one of our businesses is Neptune which has a lot of North Sea production, and we can actually reduce the carbon footprint per barrel because you electrify the rigs, you do a much better job with flaring. You do all the things that you need to do in order to fundamentally reduce the carbon footprint and then, all of a sudden, you can take good businesses and they can become great businesses. So that’s step one and I think it’s important that it be, it just has become part of our dialogue at Carlyle, how do we take a good company and make it great? ESG is a primary factor into that to do it really well.”
- “I think we all forget that while we’re sitting in shelter-in-place, all of our Chinese colleagues were doing this back in January, and so that gave us a chance as a firm to really begin to prepare and I think it gave us a little bit of a head start.“
- “China has got a unique system and therefore their ability I think to uniformly manage things was incredibly helpful. But we’ve seen capacity in restaurants, capacity in port operations, pick way back up to the point where it’s not quite where it was pre COVID-19 but it really is from a capacity standpoint pretty darn close. I think the big observation has been certain parts of the Chinese economy have rebounded well and other parts have been sticky slow and that’s understandable”…
So how do we reconcile the way Youngkin talked just a few months before he launched his Virginia gubernatorial campaign and morphed into a reflexive anti-“woke,” anti-China right wingnut? Maybe the guy simply has no core principles whatsoever, so that when he was with Carlyle it was all about making money – and he didn’t care in the least bit if it was Communist Party, or if it involved cutting carbon emission or emphasizing diversity/equity/inclusion at Caryle, etc.; and now that he’s in politics, it’s all about advancing his own political career in the Trumpified Republican Party. In short, Youngkin will say or do whatever it takes to get ahead, whether economically or politically, and it doesn’t matter in the least whether he actually believes it, let alone thinks that it’s the best thing for Virginia, the country, etc. And no, voters should NEVER elect people like this…