Regnerus Anti-Gay Scandal — UT Fails To Investigate, Further Damaging Public Image
A fraudulent, anti-gay “study” that Mark Regnerus carried out at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) became the object of a scientific and scholarly misconduct inquiry there in June.
UT officials have now abdicated responsibility by failing to proceed from an inquiry to a full investigation, preposterously justifying their decision by alleging that the scientific failings of the Regernus study can be classified as “ordinary errors.”
Meanwhile though, a mass of scientists has expressed concern that the study does not support the conclusions it offers.
Has UT’s reputation in the academy — and beyond — been irredeemably besmirched?
The school did — Â only recently — have to be pressured into looking more deeply into a blatantly dubious matter involving its professor Charles Groat, who had completed a study which concluded that fracking is safe, without having disclosed that he sits on the board of a fracking industry company.
Writing in Scientific American — no less — David Wogan, an energy and policy writer who happens to beÂ a former student of Groat at the University of Texas, said that the Groat scandal is damaging to the University of Texas at Austin.
This article will explain that UT’s decision not to investigate Regnerus is contributing to his pseudoscience’s effect of seriously undermining the trust on which science is based, even as it is handing his funders and other anti-gay bigots a cudgel with which to beat innocent gay victims over their heads in the public square, something at which they were already very well practiced.
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE ANTI-GAY-RIGHTS REGNERUS SCANDAL
Mark Regnerus — though trained as a sociologist — is not an expert in family sociology.
Still less is Mr. Regnerus competent in the esoteric field of same-sex parents’ child outcomes.
That made it possible for Regnerus’s anti-gay-rights funders to have the hate speech they commissioned from Regnerus wear the trappings of science while failing to observe the rigorous methodology and standards of evidence that characterize real science.
It was, indeed, just absolutely dismaying to learn that the anti-gay-rights authorities of the Witherspoon Institute had recruited RegnerusÂ — a non-topic expert — for a study allegedly to be on “same-sex parents'” child outcomes, sealing the deal with a known minimum of $785,000.
Those same anti-gay-rights Witherspoon villains also wield power at the top of other anti-gay-rights organizations with very long, shameful histories of distorting the scientific record to poison people’s minds against gays as a class of people.
Top Witherspoon authorities also wield power over — (to cite just one of many examples) — the so-called National Organization for Marriage, which has told the public that homosexuals are sub-human and deserve to die.
These bigots have a track record of filthy dirty deeds: the truth will out in the end, whether UT investigates Regnerus or not.
WITHERSPOON’S BRAD WILCOX’S ROLE IN THE REGNERUS SCANDAL
W. Bradford WilcoxÂ of The Witherspoon Institute, as happens, isÂ a long-time personal and professionalÂ associateÂ of Regnerus.
He also is Director of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon’s program on Family, Marriage and Democracy.
As Witherspoon’s 2010 IRS 990 form shows, the Regnerus study is a project of Brad Wilcox’s Family, Marriage and Democracy program.
Wilcox is in on the Regnerus pseudoscience hoax, up to his neck.
Additionally, Wilcox is an editorial board member of Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study.
Surely it was not mere coincidence that the Wilcox-Witherspoon-commissioned Regnerus “study” was published — but — (and this is of prime importance in the scandal) — without benefit of valid peer review — in a journal where Wilcox sits on the editorial board.
The Regnerus study was approved for publication in Social Science ResearchÂ on a suspicious rush schedule that violated Social Science Research‘s own, publicly-publishedÂ Peer Review Policy.
That policy states that papers are matched to peer reviewers according to their expertise. But none of the Regnerus study’s peer reviewers were same-sex parenting experts. And, whereas the policy warns authors that it takes months for the editor to locate esoteric topic expert peer reviewers, the Regnerus study was accepted for publication just 41 days after submission.
And it gets better. (Or, really, worse.)
Wilcox also was a paid consultant on the Regnerus study. Furthermore, he apparently was, additionally, one of the peer reviewers who ignored the study’s glaring scientific failings, rubber-stamping it for publication, though publication was not scientifically justified. Wilcox, furthermore, was not the only paid Regnerus study consultant allowed to do peer review. That alone means that the study did not receive valid peer review.Â By Social Science Research‘s own admission in its “audit” of the publication of Regnerus’s study, the peer review failed.
To repeat the point for emphasis: outside observers affirm what the journal itself admits — the Regnerus study did not go through valid peer review.
And, a mass of scientists have caught the glaring scientific errors that the Regnerus study’s peer reviewers — in their peer review failure — let through to publication. One in that mass of scientists is the President of the American Sociological Association.
Compounding Wilcox’s problems with multiple apparent fiduciary conflicts of interest in relation to the Regnerus study, Witherspoon created a stand-alone websiteÂ for the Regnerus study.
And on Witherspoon’s online publication Public Discourse —Â over which Wilcox exercisesÂ editorial authorityÂ — there now is an anti-gay-rights essay based on gross misrepresentations of the Regnerus study, by Robert Oscar Lopez, who openly admits in his essay that Regnerus recruited him online, in relation to support for his study. Just because Wilcox and Regnerus are being open about doing this sort of thing, does not mean that this sort of thing conforms to the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.
To spell this out now: Witherspoon’s Wilcox clearly abused the public trust — through his authority and influence at Social Science ResearchÂ — Â to get published there — without benefit of valid peer review — the pseudoscience financed by his anti-gay-rights organization, The Witherspoon Institute, and carried out by his long-time friend Mark Regnerus.
To spell this out even further: Had Regnerus’s pseudoscience been submitted to any scientific journal of integrity where a Witherspoon official did not exercise editorial board influence, it would never have been published.
REGNERUS STUDY UNIFORMLY REJECTED BY QUALIFIED EXPERTS
In the course of investigating the Regnerus scandal, I have solicited opinions about the scientific validity of the study from umpteen accomplished scholars. One expert in research methodology and analysis — and a person known not to support marriage equality for same-sex couples Â — told me this: “I agree that the analytical approach left much to be desired.Â I am surprised that the peerÂ reviewers didn’t demand better, even if they were inclined to recommend publication.” That same scientist Â took a deeper look at the study, such as it is, and told me that that nearly all of the “bad” child outcomes of the study correlate to the study’s subjects having been victims of bullying. He said: “Any serious analytical work with this data will have to take bullying historyÂ into account.”
Yet the study’s sponsors are using it to shore up their toxic, hateful arguments that schools should not include “sexual orientation” in their anti-bullying policies.
The first question observers with respect for science asked themselves upon seeing the Regnerus study was: “How did these glaring scientific errors make it past those who peer reviewed it for the journalÂ Social Science Research?”
Another characteristic question frequently posed about the Regnerus study in the academy was: “Given that this study does not support the conclusions it offers,Â why did the peer reviewers not demand a professional-level study before approving it for publication?”
One scientist summed up the relevant issues in the following way. Her statement is a little long and technical for inclusion in this article, but worth plowing through for its substantive, science-based indications that the Regnerus study — commissioned as it was by the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute — isÂ a hoax:
“It is safe for me to say that the methodology used in Dr. Regnerus’ study is highly unusual and unlikely to pass critical commentary in” . . . “peer-reviewed journals. The study was not an experiment in any sense of the word, although the data analysis proceeded as if it were. This was a random sample survey; researchers working on a random sample survey study refrain from using the language of experimental design in analyzing and discussing their results. Because the trait in question, having a parent who at some point had a same-sex relationship, is confounded with a host of other variables in the Regnerus study, the appropriate methodology would have been a multivariate linear regression model that ‘controlled’ for the sources of difference between those respondents with ‘gay’ parents and those without, such as race, Â parental education and income, parental divorce, religious participation, etc. Why Regnerus did not conduct and report such an analysis is beyond me (he actually says he DID conduct such an analysis in his article but then decided not to present it to the reader). Â Even a controlled, multivariate analysis would be inadequate here, however, since there are a host of UNMEASURED variables that might be different across individuals but could not be controlled in the analysis (such as health of the parents, parental time with the children in adolescence, etc.). Regnerus analyzed his data as though it were a multi-group experiment,Â thoroughly documented differences between his married biological parent group and his ‘gay’ parent group,Â and then issued a disclaimer that he really didn’t know what was producing the differences since this was not an experimental study. Well, duh. A reputable social scientist would not have stopped there. The strange thing is that the journalÂ Social Science ResearchÂ has always had the reputation of being an extremely methodologically sophisticated journal. How this happened in that journal seems incredible to me.”
Where that expert said “A reputable social scientist would not have stopped there,”Â the expert was saying that Regnerus is disreputable. UT officials should take that hint.
SO, HOW ARE REGNERUS’S “ORDINARY ERRORS” — (COUGH, COUGH) — CONNECTED TO MISCONDUCT?
It is simply not credible that a trained sociologist would produce this study — soÂ resoundingly condemnedÂ in the academy on purely scientific, methodological, andÂ analyticalÂ grounds — without his relations with his anti-gay-rights funders having had a corrupting influence on him. The dismal scientific level of the “study,” combined with certain other documented facts of the matter, is direct evidence of misconduct. What are some of the “documented facts of the matter”? Â Well, for instance, the study being introduced to, and then published; 1) without benefit of valid peer review; by 2) a journal where the study’s main funder is on the editorial board, also was a paid study consultant and appears to have been one of the study’s peer reviewers.
I repeat:Â Had Regnerus’s pseudoscience been submitted to any scientific journal of integrity where a Witherspoon official did not exercise editorial board influence, it wouldÂ neverÂ have been published.
University of Texas at Austin officials can say what they want: the overwhelming consensus in the academy is that Regnerus’s study’s failings do not constitute mere “ordinary errors.”
When the major professional associations in the following are going on official record — precisely saying that the Regnerus’s study’s failings are not “ordinary errors,” this is another place where UT officials should take the hint that the Regnerus study goes way beyond “ordinary errors”: Â 1) the American Psychological Association; 2) the California Psychological Association; 3) the American Psychiatric Association; 4) the National Association of Social Workers; and 5) its California Chapter; 6) the American Medical Association; 7) the American Academy of Pediatrics; and 8) the American Psychoanalytic Association; and now also 9) the American Sociological Association.
Now that it has been proven and admitted that Regnerus’s study did not receive valid peer review, you might think that for the sake of his own professional reputation, Regnerus would insist that his work be retracted from publication to be put through ethical and appropriate professional peer review prior to any future eventual re-publication.
Yet, he appears unconcerned that his funders are digging themselves — and him along with them — deeper into the hole.
EVEN IN THEIR ATTEMPTED — BUT UNSUCCESSFUL — SCIENTIFIC DEFENSES OF REGNERUS, WITHERSPOON OFFICIALS DO NOT DISCLOSE THEIR FIDUCIARY CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The most widely-circulated, attempted academic defense of Regnerus was issued in the form ofÂ a propagandistic letterÂ by the Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion. That letter is choc-a-block with distortions of the scientific record. It cites, for example, in support of Regnerus, a supposed, but dubious, same-sex-couples parenting study by Daniel Potter, yet quotes a portion of a sentence from the study by truncating the part of the sentence that says that differences found in the study between children of hetero and gay parent figures were “nonsignificantÂ net of family transitions.” (Bolding added).
In plain English, that use of the word “nonsignificant” means that there is nothing about a parent’s sexual orientation, per se, that correlates to, or causes any child outcome good or bad.
But Regnerus’s pseudoscience alleges a different finding, namely, that there are significant differences between child outcomes for same-sex and opposite sex parents, so it would not have suited the Witherspoon officials’ devious purposes to have included the word “nonsignificant” in their Baylor letter. The Baylor letter is so deeply dishonest and intentionally misleading, that it acknowledges “limitations” in Regnerus’s work without specifying what they are.
Four significantly deceptive Witherspoon officials, including Regnerus’s long-time friend, and principal study contact at Witherspoon –Â Brad WilcoxÂ — signed their names to the Baylor letter without disclosing that WitherspoonÂ 1)Â funded the Regnerus study andÂ 2)Â is very heavily promoting it in anti-gay-rights political contexts. The Baylor letter damns itself with its distortions of the scientific record, but the bird splat atop the garbage heap is that Baylor forbids community members from “promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching.” Â Moreover, though the school is dedicated to bashing homosexuals over their heads with the Bible, the Baylor letter signers attempted to mask the ignorance-fueled anti-gay bigotry most of them harbor by titling their letterÂ A Social Scientific Response to the Regnerus Controversy.
Behind Regnerus’s pseudoscience, there is a corrupt agreement to create a sham study to defame gay parents.
Invalid as it is, the study hardly found that all of its children of “same sex parents” had bad child outcomes. Yet Regnerus’s funders are pushing the study as proof that no gay couple should ever be allowed to marry. In one of his obnoxious public promotions of his pseudoscience, Regnerus goes so far as baselessly to allege that it would cost society too much for gay couples with children to have legal equality. Previously, Regnerus had told a Notre Dame University interviewer that the Catholic Church shapes his thinking on family life, and that he hopes his research will make a contribution to the Church.
The Catholic Church is a particularly evil actor, as it demonized homosexuals in the WWII era and participated in getting them deported to concentration camps, but has never acknowledged its complicity in the gay victims’ tortures and murder. Even were it not for that utterly ignoble history, the Church in the present-day continues to demonize gays on the basis of twaddle, flying in the face of all legitimate scientific inquiry into human sexuality.
Meanwhile, if the parties to the Regnerus scandal had nothing to hide, they would not still be obstructing — as they are — Freedom of Information Act Requests filed by multiple journalists. UT continues to count among the parties keeping evidence hidden.
The University of Texas at Austin might consider that release of all of the requested documentation to journalists and the public would build public confidence, that the university encourages transparency where there are strong indicators of scientific and scholarly misconduct.
If there is nothing to hide in what they are hiding, why are they hiding it?
Those who are the victims of Regnerus’s pseudoscience deserve transparency; not cover ups.
UT’s Research Integrity Officer Dr. Robert A. Peterson told the Austin American-Statesman that “the question of whether Regnerus’ study has serious flaws is one best left to debate.”
Yet if you only rebut — which indeed would be the proper course in a legitimate scientific inquiry — then you are rewarding the perpetrators.
Neither Regnerus nor UT have anything to be proud of in this.
At Social Science Research, where Regnerus’s pseudoscience was published, editor James Wright and editorial board member Darren Sherkat are guilty of dereliction of scientific duty.
Sherkat actually told The Chronicle of Higher EducationÂ that he cannot blame the Regnerus submission’s non-topic-expert peer reviewers for not catching the submission’s same-sex-parenting-specific scientific failings, because they are not topic experts!
That is exactly why topic experts — and only topic experts — must do the peer review.
Sherkat excuses away Wright’s rush to publish Regnerus, by saying that Regnerus’s pseudoscience promised SSR the prospect of what can correctly be referred to as “a quick buck,” and so Wright could not be bothered to wait the time necessary to finding topic expert peer reviewers.
Furthermore, in his written audit, Sherkat says that he cannot blame the peer reviewers for not catching that Regnerus’s work is pseudoscience, because they are too busy in their lives. And Sherkat also writes that he cannot blame Wright for not picking up on the fact that the peer reviewers were not doing their jobs properly, because Wright is too busy in his life.
“I’m too busy to do my job responsibly,” is a laugh-out-loud ridiculous excuse that would not work for either a surgeon or a car mechanic or anybody else on any job whatsoever, and we must not permit it to be an excuse that goes ignored now in relation to a study on same-sex parenting.
Because of Wright’s and Sherkat’s dereliction of scientific duty, a correct next step in the Regnerus pseudoscience scandal is for intense pressure to be put on Elsevier, the company that owns and publishesÂ Social Science Review, to have the Regnerus submission retracted from publication and put through valid peer review prior to any eventual future re-publication.
In his “audit,” Sherkat admits that members of SSR’s editorial board were involved in peer review of Regnerus’s pseudoscience, without divulging that one of the peer reviewers was Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox.
Sherkat notoriously told an interviewer that Regnerus’s pseudoscience is “bullshit,” but that word applies to his audit even better than it does to the pseudoscience publication event that he audited.
The community has to fight back with unwavering determination against the enablers of this anti-gay hoax.
Victory is certain, because we are on the side of the truth about the Witherspoon-NOM-Regnerus-Wilcox hoax.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writerÂ Scott Roseâ€™s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His â€œMr. David Cooperâ€™s Happy Suicideâ€ is about aÂ New York City advertising executive assigned to aÂ condom account.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Former GOP Lawmaker Trashes Rep. Clay Higgins for ‘Cosplay Ridiculousness That Actually Could Spark Violence’
Appearing on MSNBC early Saturday morning, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) lashed out at a fellow Republican who responded to Donald Trump’s latest indictment with what appears to be a call for another insurrection.
After the announcement that the former president will be formally indicted by the Department of Justice in Florida next week, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) fired off a tweet stating: “President Trump said he has been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”
Agreeing with militia expert Jeff Sharlet, who wrote, “This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing. I think this is scary as hell,” Riggleman piled on.
Speaking with MSNBC host Katie Phang, he stated, “I know Clay, I’ve served with him back in 2019 to 2021. This is so irresponsible.”
“But it’s also almost a cosplay ridiculousness that actually could spark violence with people that maybe are too ignorant to understand, or absolutely understand what a Clay Higgins is putting out there,” he suggested.
“I think at this point, he probably needs to retract that or delete it, and to apologize for such ridiculous language,” he continued. “Because it makes real military individuals almost cringe. It’s so cringeworthy that I do believe that we have to have a point in this country where their saying rise up against this hyperbolic bulls–t.”
“I think, for me as a former military person, it’s embarrassing to see somebody, especially an elected representative, it’s just embarrassing to see somebody tweet something like that, ” he added.
Watch below or at the link:
‘We Are Not Going to Stand for It’: McCarthy Defends Trump – Vows to Use Jim Jordan’s Committee to Target Attorney General
The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, barely hours after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed a 49-page, 37-felony count criminal indictment charging Donald Trump with violations of seven federal laws, decided to double-down on his defense of the ex-president by threatening to target the Attorney General of the United States and declaring House Republicans “are not going to stand for” the criminal prosecution of the ex-president.
McCarthy went on Fox News Friday afternoon, saying “this judgment is wrong by this DOJ. That they treated President Trump differently than they treat others. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all – which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it.”
McCarthy: This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it. pic.twitter.com/B0Z1c81yOn
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 9, 2023
McCarthy, a California Republican who cobbled together a tenuous pact with far-right extremists to win his speakership on the 15th try, is incorrect on the facts.
RELATED: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The Dept. of Justice does not pass judgment, the courts – in this case a jury, does. The Dept. of Justice did not treat Trump “differently,” except to give him multiple opportunities over an approximately two-year period to return national secrets he allegedly unlawfully removed, retained, and refused to return, even after being served with a subpoena and a search warrant.
What McCarthy does not do is claim Trump’s actions were legal or reasonable, because the damning indictment makes clear they are not.
Later, McCarthy took to Twitter to effectively declare he would target the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, who – for nearly a quarter century – served as a federal appeals court judge and chief judge before being nominated to serve at Main Justice.
(Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the confirmation to move process forward.)
“Many officials, from Secretary Hillary Clinton to then-Senator Joe Biden, handled classified info after their time in office & were never charged,” tweeted the Speaker, not just wrongly, but grossly and dishonestly characterizing the allegations against Trump.
“Now Biden’s leading political opponent is indicted—a double standard that must be investigated,” he again dishonestly declared.
READ MORE: ‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision of the Special Counsel to ask a Florida grand jury for an indictment. Nor was the President even told before Trump was indicted – like every American, President Biden learned of the Trump indictment through news reports. Attorney General Garland did not sign off on the decision to ask a grand jury for an indictment.
McCarthy, meanwhile, vowed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and the House Republicans “will get answers.”
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” he declared.
McCarthy made those remarks atop a Friday letter from Jordan to Garland that begins: “The Biden Department of Justice is reportedly about to indict a former president and President Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming presidential election.”
“According to reports, the Department will indict President Donald Trump, despite declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.” (The letter does not mention former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not being charged for his mishandling of classified information.”
On Thursday a defiant and angry McCarthy, after Trump was indicted, wrote: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.”
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” he said, which is egregiously false – Biden did not indict Trump, nor did his Attorney General or even Special Counsel; a grand jury of Florida citizens did.
“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy charged, which is a legitimate claim and there is a current federal investigation underway. The difference is Biden did not take the documents, did not know they were among his papers, and immediately upon learning they were, contacted the National Archives to arrange their return.
Donald Trump, we now know, according to the indictment, packed some of the boxes himself, not only refused to return the documents but hid them from the Dept. of Justice and National Archives, lied about them, and kept them at times in public areas of his Florida resort and residence.
“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law,” McCarthy wrong declared, “stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
In response to McCarthy’s remarks, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted a photo from the DOJ’s indictment of Trump.
“These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this,” he charged.
These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this. pic.twitter.com/oFid5ViCdr
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 9, 2023
Watch the video and see Rep. Swalwell’s tweet above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are saying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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