Democrat Terry McAuliffe: ‘It Is a Racist Dog Whistle’ to Claim K–12 Schools Are Teaching Critical Race Theory

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) answers a question in a debate with Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce September 28, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. The gubernatorial election is November 2. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is running for governor again, is continuing to deny that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in schools and has repeatedly dismissed the concept, describing it as a “dog whistle” and “right-wing conspiracy.”

McAuliffe said Tuesday during an appearance on MSNBC that his opponent, Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, “talks about Critical Race Theory. He talks about having these parents meetings on Critical Race Theory. It really bothers because it is a racist dog whistle. We don’t teach Critical Race Theory here in Virginia.”

Watch [10:40 minute-mark]:

Sunday on CNN, McAuliffe made a similar remark, saying, “I really hate to see what Glenn Youngkin is trying to do to Virginia what Donald Trump did to our country. … Let’s just be clear. We don’t teach Critical Race Theory. This is a made up, this is a Trump-Betsy DeVos-Glenn Youngkin plan to divide people, and it really bothers me”:

Again, in June, McAuliffe was caught on tape describing CRT as “made up.”

“It’s another right-wing conspiracy. This is totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin. This is who they are. It’s a conspiracy theory,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe’s denials about CRT conflict with a string of evidence of its existence in Virginia, and particularly in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), which has become known by some as “ground zero” for the nationwide debates over CRT.

A video posted June 4 by Parents Against Critical Theory showed LCPS school board member Beth Barts admitting CRT has a presence in LCPS. “While we are not teaching Critical Race Theory necessarily in classrooms, I will say that there are probably portions of Critical Race Theory that we may be applying when we use the lens to look at some of our policies,” Barts said, adding that she is opposed to banning CRT:

On June 18, LCPS teacher Monica Gill wrote an op-ed for the Federalist in which she claimed LCPS officials were “playing with semantics” by downplaying CRT’s presence in the classroom.

“Much of what is being touted in Loudoun County teacher trainings and trickling down into classrooms are poisonous fruit straight off the critical race theory tree,” Gill wrote.

An invoice from June 9, 2020, published online last week revealed the Equity Collaborative billed LCPS last year for an array of CRT-related items such as “coaching support for the Director of Equity” and “follow up meetings focused on Critical Race Theory Development.” The group charged LCPS $34,167 total for the items listed:

Outside of LCPS, Breitbart News obtained slides in May that were part of an “anti-racism” pilot program for middle schoolers in Albermarle County Public Schools. The slides quoted critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi, explored the concept of “white privilege,” and warned “children are either going to learn racist or antiracist ideas.”

In Alexandria City Public Schools, officials advise “teaching racial justice” and “talking to your children about racial justice.” As Breitbart News reported, Alexandria’s school system suggests teachers refer to content like the New York Times’s widely debunked 1619 Project and “White Teachers Need Anti-Racist Therapy” by Bettina L. Love.

McAuliffe’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of CRT in schools comes in conjunction with the Virginia Democrat facing ongoing backlash for school-related comments he made in his last debate with Youngkin. During the debate, while McAuliffe was defending vetoing a bill from when he was governor, he said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” The remark was met with an explosion of online criticismconcern from parents, multiple op-eds from media outlets, and a viral Youngkin campaign ad.

While Youngkin has made education reform a central component of his campaign for several months, the Virginia Republican ramped up his focus on the topic after McAuliffe’s comment, widely pushing his new ad, launching a “Parents Matter” initiative, and traveling the state to host “Parents Matter” rallies, including one in Winchester last week, another in Culpeper Wednesday, and one scheduled for Thursday in Warrenton.

The Youngkin campaign’s Christian Martinez said in a statement provided to Breitbart News that McAuliffe’s stance on CRT is proof he wants to “keep parents out of the classroom so his special interest allies can force their radical political agenda into classrooms and tell children what to think instead of teaching them how to think.”

Martinez added, “As governor, Glenn Youngkin will empower parents, ban critical race theory, restore excellence in our public schools, and raise teacher pay.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at


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