White House press secretary Jen Psaki lit into Glenn Youngkin for trying to fulfill his campaign promises.
The newly sworn-in governor quickly met defiance of his executive order from some of Virginia’s bluer areas, including Psaki’s home of Arlington County, as well as Fairfax, Alexandria, and Richmond.
Arlington County said in a Saturday statement that its public schools will “continue to require all staff and students to wear masks inside on school grounds and buses, as part of our layered approach to safety.”
Arlington County’s statement won the applause of President Biden’s chief spokesperson, who said in August that her kindergartner could wear a mask “all day” after the CDC recommended that everyone wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
The order from Youngkin, whose victory was powered in part by parents fed up with coronavirus mandates and lockdowns, does not prevent students from wearing masks in schools, as some progressives have argued at times. Rather, it allows them to opt-out if they choose: “The parents of any child enrolled in an elementary or secondary school or school-based early childcare, and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate.
Psaki quickly criticized Glen Youngkin, sharply being criticized by conservatives for speaking out, with some telling Psaki she was free to continue to mask her children and should heed the will of Virginia voters.
Conservatives did not hold back on Psaki’s comments without reading the entire order.
“I have read the order, and Jen is welcome to do for her child as she pleases,” CNN’s Mary Katharine Ham tweeted. “Given that the effective masks are fitted N95s, she doesn’t need to worry about my kids if her kid has the good gear.”
Arlington County announced its mandate would continue shortly after Youngkin’s order went out.
Youngkin did not hesitate to directly address Psaki’s tweet when speaking with reporters on Sunday.
“The fact that that tweet came out from Arlington County within minutes of my Executive Order, what that tells me, is they haven’t listened to parents yet.”
It is also important to know that Psaki was hit with an ethics complaint in October when she appeared to advocate for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race, saying, “We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”
Psaki violated the Hatch Act, which forbids officials from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the results of an election.”
Biden and other national Democrats campaigned hard for McAuliffe, seeking a second term after serving as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018.
Youngkin’s victory in a state that Biden won comfortably in 2020 was seen as a stinging rebuke of Democrats and a sign of parent anger over coronavirus mandates and lockdowns.