McAuliffe ad hits Youngkin on COVID-19 approach: ‘Don’t Florida our Virginia’

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released an ad on Friday taking aim at his Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, over his approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

The minute-long ad, titled “Don’t Florida Our Virginia,” begins with Youngkin responding to a question about if he would model his approach to the pandemic after that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

“I think Gov. DeSantis has done a lot of really impressive things to lead,” Youngkin says in response. “And this is where I look to lead as governor.” 

The ad plays a clip of DeSantis saying “we chose freedom of Fauci-ism,” which is directly followed by Youngkin saying “and this is where I look to lead as governor.”

The video then takes aim at DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic — juxtaposing media reports highlighting the toll of the recent surge of coronavirus infections with his executive order banning local officials from imposing vaccine and mask mandates.

Florida, which has become the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., has been particularly hit hard by the surge fueled by the delta variant. Several school districts have opted to impose mask mandates, in defiance of DeSantis’s order.

The ad specifically noted that DeSantis threatened to cut the salaries of school officials who defied his mask ban.

The video ends with photos of Youngkin and DeSantis with the text “Don’t let Glenn Youngkin do to Virginia what Ron DeSantis did to Florida.”

Over the photos, Youngkin is once again heard saying “this is where I look to lead as governor.”

The ad is the latest in the state’s race for governor’s mansion as the pandemic takes centerstage.

Earlier this week, McAuliffe’s campaign mandated staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Youngkin has not said whether he will require his staff to do so.

Tags 2021 Virginia governor election Coronavirus COVID-19 Florida Glenn Youngkin mask mandates Ron DeSantis Terry McAuliffe Virginia

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