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Gov. Youngkin skewered after attacking teen on Twitter for exposing whitewash at Executive manse

Deetz initially told VPM that, in January, she arrived at the mansion to discover that someone had removed period cookware on loan from Monticello and other sites. Her office was emptied and a TV had been placed in the space. Which all led her to believe the historic room was being renovated into a “family room.”

The Youngkins have denied Deetz’s claim. Younkin’s spokesperson says the space is not being used for that purpose.

On Saturday, the Youngkin camp took their whitewashing even further and went on the attack. 

The Washington Post reports that Ethan Lynne, 17, retweeted a story about Deetz’s departure and efforts from Northam and Democrat Terry McAuliffe to shine a light on the history of the mansion told from the perspective of those enslaved there. 

But, Lynne’s tweet, even with his later corrected tweet, caused a firestorm, and “Team Youngkin”—the official Twitter account for Youngkin’s campaign—posted a photo of the teen and Northam, taken at a Democratic fundraiser in October.

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The tweet was later removed, but only after a severe backlash accusing Youngkin of “cyberbullying of the worst kind.”

“A governor’s campaign account has attacked a minor—to me that was a new low,” Lynne said, according to the Post. “And they just now took it down. It was up for over 12 hours. I received no apology, no communication, nothing.”

As NPR reported last year, were you to tour Virginia’s Executive Mansion, you’d be privy to its grand rooms, roped off to protect the art and period furniture. You’d likely never see the building just adjacent to the manse. One with far less expansive rooms and fancy furniture. This is the building where enslaved people worked to service the governors. 

These sparse rooms were where enslaved butlers, maids, and cooks prepared meals, laundered clothes, and slept after the mansion was completed in 1813. It was later used by governors for purposes ranging from storage to family space.

Justin Reid was one of the leaders in the first lady’s project. He said in a tweet that the work of telling the complete story of Virginia’s brutal history is not done—and won’t stop with Deetz out of the job. 

“The work of telling our Executive Mansion’s whole history is bigger than an elected or staff position,” wrote Reid, the former chair of the CAC’s education committee. “A remarkable group of Descendants of the enslaved, educators, & historians have built a foundation strong enough to withstand four years of any administration.”

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It’s no surprise that the Youngkin’s wouldn’t prioritize the full and complete story of the mansion and its enslaved descendants. He’s the general of a culture war in his state over teachers and critical race theory (CRT). 

Last month, Youngkin officially set up a “tip line” to give his conservative constituents the opportunity to rat out educators who have the nerve to teach actual American history. This went hand in hand with the executive order he signed banning the teaching of CRT in Virginia schools.

Lynne returned to Twitter Sunday to thank the lawmakers who defended him. 

Monday, Youngkin tweeted his “regret” about “authorizing” the tweet attacking the teen, adding that he “addressed it” with his team. 

“We must continue to work to bring Virginians together. There is so much more that unites us than divides us,” he wrote. 

He neglected to apologize to Lynne. 

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24Jan
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