PolitiFact VA: Did Youngkin Flip On President Biden’s Legitimacy?
Glenn Youngkin on the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election
Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor, says there’s nothing new about his recent proclamations that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the office.
“I mean, the reality is, and I have said this before, Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president,” Youngkin said during a May 13 interview on Fox Business. “He took the oath and was sworn in. He’s sleeping in the White House. He’s unfortunately signing executive order after executive order.”
Youngkin is suggesting his position hasn’t changed. But an examination of his statements shows his rhetoric has changed since May 10, when he was declared the winner of a Republican drive-in convention held at 39 sites across the state. Let’s take a look on our Flip-O-Meter.
Youngkin has made “election integrity” a major issue in his campaign, calling for stronger laws for voter identification and verifying mail-in ballots. While courting Republican delegates prior to the convention, he repeatedly deflected questions about the legitimacy of Biden’s election by simply saying Biden was president because he had been inaugurated.
For example, VPM reporter Ben Paviour asked Youngkin on April 20 whether he believed there was “fraud” in the presidential election.
“People absolutely continue not to have faith in the process,” Youngkin replied. “This is the issue.” Youngkin then talked about hanging chads in Florida during the state’s 2000 presidential election recount.
When pressed again about whether he believed the 2020 election was fraudulent, Youngkin replied, “At the end of the day the president is Joe Biden because he was inaugurated as such.”
The Washington Post reported on Feb. 22 that Youngkin said “no,” when asked if he believed Biden “stole” the election, but “declined to say if he believes Biden was legitimately elected.” One of Youngkin’s two closest competitors, Pete Snyder, took a similar position. The other, Amanda Chase, repeatedly made unsupported claims that the election was rigged.
On April 1, Reuters reported that Youngkin’s campaign and those of his GOP competitors, “did not respond to questions asking if their candidate believed Biden was the legitimate winner of November’s election.”
On April 7, the Virginia Mercury reported that Youngkin and Snyder were “declining to say whether they believe Biden’s November victory was legitimate.”
We asked Youngkin’s campaign for taped proof of his May 13 claim that, “I have said this before, Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president.” We were sent three statements by Youngkin, all occurring after he was declared winner of the GOP nomination on May 10 and beginning a general election campaign.
On May 12, Youngkin was asked by Bloomberg Radio if Biden was legitimately elected and answered, “Of course. He’s our president. He slept in the White House last night. He’s addressed a joint session of Congress. He’s signing executive orders that I wish he wasn’t signing. So, let’s look forward and just recognize that what we have to do is lead.”
The same day, WAVY-TV in Portsmouth asked Younkgin if Biden won fairly. “Yeah,” he said.
And the campaign pointed us to the May 13 interview with Fox Business when Youngkin said, “I have said this before, Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president.”
We asked the campaign if it had any examples of Youngkin saying before the convention that Biden was legitimately elected. We didn’t get a reply.
Democrats will choose their nominee in a June 8 primary. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is the frontrunner in a five-candidate field.
Prior to his victory at the Republican convention, Youngkin toed a delicate line when asked if Biden was legitimately elected. He acknowledged that Biden was president but would not clearly say whether he thought the president was fairly elected.
After the convention, Youngkin began acknowledging that Biden’s election was legitimate.
His position changed, and we rate it a Half Flip.
Glenn Youngkin, Fox Business interview, May 13, 2021 (4:46 mark).
Youngkin, “Election Integrity Task Force 5-Point Plan,” Feb. 15, 2021.
The Washington Post, “Virginia governor’s race will test GOP identity, Democratic leadership before midterms,” Feb. 22, 2021.
Reuters, “In Virginia governor’s race, Trump’s false stolen-election claim looms large,” April 1, 2021.
Virginia Mercury, “For Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, post-Trump era starts with big emphasis on ‘election integrity,’” April 7, 2021.
Email from Youngkin’s campaign, May 14, 2021.
Bloomberg Radio, Youngkin interview, May 12, 2021.
WAVY-TV, Youngkin interview, May 13, 2021.
The Washington Post, “In a shift, GOP nominee for Va. governor admits Biden ‘legitimately’ elected,” May 14, 2021.