MATTHEWS: Gov. Glenn Youngkin gets the ‘Ron DeSantis treatment’ his first week in office

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, front center, delivers his State of the Commonwealth address while House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, top center, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, left, and President Pro Tem Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, right, listen before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol, Monday Jan. 17, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s 74th governor on January 15th and, along with other members of his administration, immediately set about fulfilling campaign promises to the state’s voters. 

One of his first orders of business was to confer with state DOT and emergency management officials as another snowstorm approached the area. Youngkin posted a picture of himself and other state officials huddling to get updates, which promptly triggered leftists on Twitter to suggest he was overdoing it by “recreating the Bin Laden raid photo.” 

Apparently, after former Gov. Ralph Northam’s botched handling of another snowstorm a week prior, which included a 90-mile traffic back-up on I-95 that stranded some drivers for more than 24 hours, Youngkin wanted to reassure the state’s residents that things were being handled. Understandably, that was going to upset some folks on the left who were still bitter about how the election turned out. 

Another priority for Youngkin and his team was to overturn Northam’s mask mandates for kids in public schools and vaccine mandates for state employees, which were two of the major promises he made on the campaign trail. He also put the kibosh on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public school classrooms, which became a major focal point during the course of his campaign against Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe. 

In another key move to turn the state away from the left’s “woke” dogma, Youngkin named Jillian Balow, a staunch opponent of Critical Race Theory, as Education Superintendent. He also changed the name of the state’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” office to the “Diversity, Opportunity and Inclusion” office. Former Heritage Foundation executive Angela Sailor, who will lead the office, has also been tasked by Youngkin with being an “ambassador for unborn children.” 

In addition to all this, Virginia’s new Attorney General, Jason Miyares, fired 30 people in the state attorney general’s office, some of whom were in the state’s “woke” civil rights division. 

Naturally, the Youngkin administration not wasting any time in getting to work has caused a great triggering in the media, many of whom are siding with the rogue school districts who are bucking his executive order on mask mandates for students. 

One Washington Post columnist decried Youngkin as a governor who is already “failing Virginia kids” for giving “selfish parents” back their right to decide whether their child should attend school with a mask on. 

That’s been the general tone and tenor of the media since Youngkin was sworn in. Not surprisingly, they take the view of Democrats when it comes to wanting to leave parents out of the decision-making process regarding public school curriculums and students wearing masks. 

In monitoring coverage of Youngkin by the Virginia press corps as well as reporters from national news outlets, it has become increasingly clear that Youngkin is being given very similar treatment to what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gets from the press. 

While it is, of course, unfair treatment considering how Democratic governors are typically treated much differently, in my view it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  

Both governors have different styles when it comes to handling a hostile press. DeSantis confronts them directly while Youngkin’s style during his gubernatorial campaign was to largely ignore their manufactured “scandals,” taking his case directly to the people. Obviously, it worked, and if he keeps doing that as governor, he will further endear himself to the state’s voters. 

When you’re a Republican governor and you’re being given the Ron DeSantis treatment by your critics on the left as well as in the mainstream media, you know you’ve got to be doing something right. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.