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Multimillionaire Obama Paints Virginia GOP Candidate Youngkin As Elitist

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Barack Obama on Saturday claimed that Glenn Youngkin, the GOP gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, is a wealthy out-of-touch elitist who can’t relate to work-class people, though the former president himself is worth tens of millions of dollars.

Obama made his remarks during a campaign event for Youngkin’s Democratic challenger, Terry McAuliffe, who is making his second bid to become Virginia’s governor after serving a four-year term from 2014-2018.

“As far as I can tell the big message of Terry’s opponent is that he’s a regular guy because he wears fleece and he’s accusing schools of brainwashing our kids,” the 44th president said, citing Youngkin’s opposition to the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia public schools.

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Obama went on to ridicule Youngkin’s campaign, which frequently touts his work experience that ranges from being a dishwasher to the co-CEO of private equity firm the Carlyle Group.

“I’m glad that the guy can play basketball,” Obama joked, referencing Youngkin’s collegiate play. “I’m less convinced that the co-CEO of the largest private equity firm in the world spends his time washing dishes and going grocery shopping, but who knows. Maybe.”

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Obama also compared Youngkin to other wealthy politicians, though the CEO has never run for public office.

“You do notice that whenever a wealthy person runs for office, they always want to show you what a regular guy they are,” he said.

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The Washington Times adds:

Mr. Youngkin, who has an estimated net worth of over $400 million, has poured much of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign. 

Mr. Obama’s own net worth is around $70 million, according to International Business Times.

The former president also attacked Mr. Youngkin on his anti-abortion views and proposals to enhance election laws to include measures like voter ID.

But while Youngkin at least has a work history, Obama’s history is replete with academics, as noted by The Miller Center:

Obama left Hawaii for college, enrolling first at Occidental College in Los Angeles for his freshman and sophomore years, and then at Columbia University in New York City. He read deeply and widely about political and international affairs, graduating from Columbia with a political science major in 1983. (A movie version of his Columbia years, Barry, was released in 2016.) After spending an additional year in New York as a researcher with Business International Group, a global business consulting firm, Obama accepted an offer to work as a community organizer in Chicago’s largely poor and black South Side. As biographer David Mendell notes in his 2007 book, Obama: From Promise to Power, the job gave Obama “his first deep immersion into the African American community he had longed to both understand and belong to.”

Obama’s main assignment as an organizer was to launch the church-funded Developing Communities Project and, in particular, to organize residents of Altgeld Gardens to pressure Chicago’s city hall to improve conditions in the poorly maintained public housing project. His efforts met with some success, but he concluded that, faced with a complex city bureaucracy, “I just can’t get things done here without a law degree.”

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In 1988, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he excelled as a student, graduating magna cum laude and winning election as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review for the academic year 1990-1991. 

“After directing Illinois Project Vote” in 1992, “a voter registration drive aimed at increasing black turnout in the 1992 election, Obama accepted positions as an attorney with the civil rights law firm of Miner, Barnhill and Galland and as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School,” the center went on to note.

Shortly thereafter, he ran for state office in Illinois; he was elected in 1996 and remained in politics until he left the White House in 2016.

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