Over the past week, outrage has bubbled over among right-wingers and TrumpWorld allies alike, who are under the impression Youngkin has insufficient MAGA loyalty, citing his hiring of an LGBTQ staffer and his refusal to block COVID-related local mandates.
The hits started pouring in against the fleece-clad governor-elect earlier this week after he declared he would not attempt to block local vaccine and mask mandates across the Old Dominion—a break from more hardcore Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis.
Right-wing media figures almost immediately began publicly bashing the governor-elect. Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton railed against Youngkin for refusing to stand up against “abusive” mask mandates, while right-wing outlet The Federalist tossed him under the bus for not being a “strong conservative governor.”
Right-wing talk radio hosts fumed as well. John Fredericks, who hosts a radio show on fringe channel Real America’s Voice, suggested Youngkin had turned on the Trump base that helped elect him. “Two weeks, post his election, here we go: Once again with another RINO alert,” he declared, accusing the millionaire Virginia gubernatorial victor of being a “Republican In Name Only.” Fredericks proceeded to slam Youngkin over only appearing on his radio program when he “needed” votes from the Steve Bannon sidekick’s hardcore MAGA fan base.
Elsewhere, right-wingers turned on Youngkin for the offense of having a staffer who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community.
Joshua Marin-Mora, a recent Georgetown University graduate turned Youngkin press assistant, faced a flurry of right-wing hate this week over “he/him” pronouns displayed in his Twitter bio.
“So, Youngkin chose a guy with pronouns in his bio to do his comms who also served on the Georgetown Latinx Leadership Forum and supports virtually everything Youngkin's voters voted against,” blared Pedro L. Gonzalez, a writer for the influential conservative think tank Claremont Institute, in a series of tweets. When other Twitter users unearthed pictures of Marin-Mora wearing LGBTQ Pride clothing, Gonzalez snarled, “The new GOP is actually worse than the old GOP.”
The lengthy thread attacking Marin-Mora was elevated by the likes of Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec and far-right activist Lauren Witzke, while notably Fox News contributor Guy Benson came to the young staffer’s defense, writing that the staffer is “Latino & LGBTQ [and] holds some heterodox political views (as do most of us) but is proudly center-right. And he worked his ass off to help Youngkin beat McAuliffe, especially among Hispanics. Good hire by Glenn.”
Nevertheless, the existence of Marin-Mora on Youngkin’s team was enough for Gonzalez to declare that the incoming governor “is sinking the knife into people's backs.” And former Newsmax host John Cardillo lamented that the LGTBQ staffer was proof that “Youngkin will turn out to be another establishment disappointment.”
Marin-Mora did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Neither did Youngkin's communications director Matt Wolking, who took to Twitter to note that Marin-Mora is considered a “valued member” of the Republican politician’s team and that the right-wing attacks on him are “ignorant and foolish.”
There have long been questions raised about whether Youngkin's loyalties will lie with Trump's base or with the more moderate conservatives who voted for him throughout Northern Virginia, a heavily purple area of the state.
In the final weeks of his campaign, Youngkin played his cards close to his chest, as former President Donald Trump often extended endorsements of the candidate who was attempting to keep an arm's length away from the ex-president. Ahead of the election in early November, countless MAGA allies perceived Youngkin’s delicate dance around fully embracing Trump as nothing short of “brilliant.”