Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, says that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), while laudable a decade ago, has “gone off the rails” because of political manipulation.
“The concept of DEI, and let’s put n ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] in it as well, these ideas five, ten years ago were laudable,” Youngkin told reporters Monday during a ceremonial bill signing in Richmond, according to local ABC WIRC News 8. “How do we embrace diversity? How do we make sure opportunity is made available to everyone? How do we foster an inclusive environment where people feel part of as opposed to excluded?
“And ESG and DEI have gone off the rails, candidly, and I think they’ve taken on a new mission that is really not consistent with those key principles. And so, we’ve got work to do.”
Youngkin made the remarks to reporters after being questioned about his DEI chief’s comments that DEI “is dead,” Fox News reports.
“We’re not going to bring that cow up anymore. It’s dead,” Virginia’s current chief diversity officer, Martin Brown, said about DEI when speaking to Virginia Military Institute faculty and staff in late April. “It was mandated by the General Assembly, but this governor has a different philosophy of civil discourse, civility, treating — living the golden rule, right?”
Brown’s comments drew immediate criticism from Democrats, who called for him to be fired, according to local WSET ABC News 13.
But Youngkin’s office responded with support for Brown, saying that the governor wasn’t going to be bullied into canceling Brown for supporting common sense policies.
“Governor Youngkin will continue to advance equal opportunities—not equal outcomes—for all Virginians,” a statement from Youngkin’s office read. “This is too important of an issue to succumb to those seeking to cancel Chief Brown for challenging the groupthink of the progressive left’s pursuit of equity at any cost.”
Democrats say that Youngkin is bound by Virginia law to uphold DEI policies, regardless of his personal opinions.
They sent a letter to Virginia’s Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares asking for an informal opinion from his office about whether Youngkin’s office can flout DEI laws.
Youngkin said that America relies on equal opportunity for people, not equal outcomes and the DEI pursuit of equal outcomes has created a “bombastic” ideology.
“We’ve got to get back to the basic principles that we know are right and away from the bombastic language that DEI has become where people all of a sudden are professing that we want equal outcomes for everyone at any costs and where all of a sudden excellence has been subordinated to equity,” Youngkin told reporters.
“Let’s put words down and go work on the things that we know are right.”