Politics

Gov. Youngkin expresses ‘regret’ for tweeting retaliatory photo against teen activist during campaign

Virginia Governor Glen Youngkin has claimed he did not authorize a Tweet by his campaign that lashed out against a high school senior and former Virginia governor Ralph Northam. 

The Tweet, posted on Saturday on Youngkin’s campaign account, was directed at 17 year old Ethan Lynne, a senior at Patrick Henry High School and a Democratic activist, after Lynne retweeted a Richmond public radio station’s report about a historian resigning her Executive Mansion position telling stories of the enslaved.

Kelley Fanto Deetz, who had worked as the director of historic interpretation and education at the Executive Mansion, had worked with a team to highlight education about enslaved people who had worked at the mansion in the past. 

Deetz came to work one day last month to find her office had been cleared out, and several historical pieces on loan from historic sites had been moved.

The historian told VPM last week that she believed an educational space in the mansion had been turned into a family room. A correction was later issued after the governor’s press secretary said that assertion was incorrect and that nothing in the space had been moved by the Youngkin administration. Lynne noted the correction on Twitter.

When Lynne re-Tweeted the VPM story on Saturday, Youngkin’s campaign responded by Tweeting a photo of the teen with former governor Ralph Northam, alongside a photo of Northam that surfaced in 2019 in which Northam wore blackface.

The Tweet read, “Here’s a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook.” The Tweet was later deleted. Lynne told the Washington Post he still has not received an apology from the governor’s campaign.

The Governor responded by Tweeting, “On Saturday night, an unauthorized tweet came from a campaign account. I regret that this happened and it shouldn’t have. I have addressed it with my team. We must continue to work to bring Virginians together. There is so much more that unites us than divides us,” Youngkin said.

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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