Democratic Virginia gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe declared that he plans to “build education,” just two weeks after he created a firestorm by saying parents should have little say in what public schools teach their children.
In a video taken Tuesday by the conservative Virginia Rising research group, McAuliffe was seen leaving an education roundtable discussion in Alexandria and chastising a maskless tracker who asked about his education stance.
“Who do you think should be in control of education if not Virginia parents?” the tracker asked as McAuliffe walked to his vehicle.
“Have you been vaccinated yet?” McAuliffe fired back. “That’s the question I want to know. You should have a mask on. … You’re dangerous here.”
“I’ll build education,” he later declared before getting into the passenger side of the vehicle. “That’s why Fox News has me leading. Glenn Youngkin destroyed Virginia’s education system.”
Virginia Rising Action also recorded a portion of the roundtable event at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria, where most, if not all, of the attendees wore a mask except for McAuliffe. A photo tweeted by McAuliffe himself showed him without a mask and flanked by his wife Dorothy McAuliffe and George Mason University faculty member Anne Holton, who were both wearing masks.
“Forty-year career politician Terry McAuliffe thinks the law applies to everyone but him,” Youngkin campaign spokesman Christian Martinez told Fox News. “McAuliffe was caught violating federal law on Amtrak without a mask, and then violating Virginia Tech’s indoor mask requirement. McAuliffe would rather play politics than take the pandemic seriously, which is why Virginians will reject McAuliffe’s plan to make life difficult for anyone who does not comply with his dictatorial mandates.”
During Tuesday’s roundtable, McAuliffe reportedly said President Biden would be joining him again on the campaign trail, despite saying in recent days that the president is “unpopular” in Virginia and that Virginians are “frustrated” with the president and Democrats in Congress.
McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, sparked the ire of conservatives late last month after he said he didn’t want parents dictating what schools teach their children.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” the former governor said during a debate against his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Youngkin has seized on the comments, launching a “Parents Matter” initiative rallying parents across the state.
“It’s pathetic to see Terry McAuliffe recycle the same old empty promises, failed policies, and dishonest attacks that he’s been repeating for 12 years,” Martinez told Fox News. “Now, McAuliffe wants to suppress and silence parents so his special interest allies can force their radical political agenda into classrooms and tell children what to think instead of teaching them how to think. Virginia parents are supporting Glenn Youngkin because he listens to them, respects them, and will restore excellence to our schools, raise teacher pay, and invest in the largest education budget in Virginia history.”
McAuliffe told WTKR this week that parents will be “very involved” in his education plans for Virginia.
“Parents are very involved. We’ve got school boards. We’ve got the state board. We’ve got great curriculum here in Virginia,” he said.
McAuliffe’s campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.