The following is the transcript of an interview with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin that aired Sunday, July 10, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
ROBERT COSTA: We turn now to the Republican Party, for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is a newcomer to politics who won in an upset last November. We want to welcome Governor Youngkin to the broadcast. Good morning, Governor. Let’s begin with the Supreme Court and abortion. You just heard from Vice President Harris, she said, You don’t have to abandon your faith to believe that a woman should have the ability to decide whether she gets an abortion or not. Do you agree?
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN: Well, first of all, good morning, and thank you for having me. And the debate on abortion has been raging for a long time. And I believe, as a pro-life governor, that life begins at conception and my job as a pro-life governor in a state in Virginia, where 18 months ago, the debate in our general assembly was around whether abortion should be allowed all the way up through and including birth, funded by taxpayer money. And so this in Virginia is a debate that we are going to run to the Supreme Court’s decision. I agree with that this is a decision for states to make by elected officials, by the citizens of Virginia, and that’s why, right out of the box, I called for a 15-week pain threshold bill to be formed and crafted by a bipartisan group of legislators. I think this is what it’s all about- is this is a moment for our country to have a discussion around this and each state will decide something different. And I think that’s the-that’s the real value of the Supreme Court’s decision.
ROBERT COSTA: You’ve said you’ve proposed a 15-week ban, will you ever pursue a full ban on abortion in Virginia?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, the reality is that as a pro-life governor in a state like Virginia where I have a Senate that’s controlled by Democrats and a House that’s controlled by Republicans, we have to find a way to get things done. And I believe that’s what we’ve been able to do is get things done at a time where you have to bring people together in order to make progress. As I said, I believe life begins at conception. In Virginia, we’ve got to work with a Senate and a House. This is what we’ve been doing.
ROBERT COSTA: But will you ever pursue a full ban?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, I believe that what my job is, is to get something done. And I believe we can get a 15-week pain threshold bill done in Virginia for the first time. Think about it, this was a state again, that just 18 months ago was talking about enabling abortion all the way up through and including birth, and now we’re able to talk about a 15-week pain threshold bill where a baby feels pain. This is a remarkable moment for us. And it’s an opportunity, I’m not going to let go.
ROBERT COSTA: You support exceptions for rape, incest in the life of the mother, some other Republican governors do not- Republicans. Are they wrong?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Again, I think this is a moment where we have to reflect on our personal beliefs, and as a pro-life governor, I have really reflected on my own faith in my beliefs. And I do believe that there should be exceptions that are made in the case of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is truly at risk. Again, this is a moment that- where people have to come together. The one thing that’s very much agreed upon in Virginia today is that we want fewer abortions, not more. And I think this is a chance over the next five months for a bipartisan group of legislators to craft a path there and give me a bill that I can sign.
ROBERT COSTA: On education, one of your first actions as governor was to propose the end of teaching of quote, “inherently divisive concepts.” What’s an example?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, in Virginia schools, and we saw Loudoun County literally be ground zero, we solve students being taught that they should view everything through a lens of race, and judge one another. And again, we’re not talking about forgetting our history. And in fact, one of the things we have to do is teach all of our history, the good and the bad. But we shouldn’t- we shouldn’t play- we shouldn’t play privilege bingo with children, we shouldn’t teach children that they should judge one another and one group is privileged and another group is- is going to find it hard in life, necessarily. And we shouldn’t blame someone and have them form a view that they’re inherently racist because of their race or their sex or their religion. We shouldn’t judge one another. We can do this. And so right out of the box, we worked in order to- to remove inherently divisive concepts from curriculum. We absolutely- we absolutely are pushing to teach all history, the good and the bad. And again, we can bring people together around this, as opposed to divide them
ROBERT COSTA: It’s a challenge, though. You say Virginia is willing to teach all history. Suppose your board of education comes to you Governor and says to you, ‘Governor, the Civil War, we recommend it’s too divisive. We want to call it the War Between the States.’ What would you do?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, I don’t think they’re going to do that–
ROBERT COSTA: So they could.
GOV. YOUNGKIN: But I don’t believe they will. And I think what we all recognize is that slavery was an absolute- It was an absolute black spot in our history, I mean, it is so, so abhorrent. We have to teach it. And this is not a moment where we’re running away from these topics. And this is why I’m so excited about our education agenda in Virginia. I mean, we stepped into our day-one game plan with a comprehensive education plan to have the highest education budget in the history of Virginia, to fund special-ed programs, to fund into laboratory schools to provide choice, to give teachers raises, and we got it all done, all of it. That’s what’s so exciting is that we brought people together around an education agenda, which is common-sense focused. And again, I believe that there’s certain groups that want to drive people apart. And my job is to pull them together around a vision for education that can deliver for our states.
ROBERT COSTA: Security is also an issue in your state. We’ve been talking about the Supreme Court, some of those justices live in Virginia, do you have confidence the justices who live in Virginia are adequately protected?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Our judges in- our judges in Virginia are adequately protected. I wish we could do more. And this is why I’ve called on Attorney General Garland to enforce the federal law, which is so clear, you can’t parade and pick it in front of the judges home and try to influence them. And I’ve been- and I’ve been consistent and calling on him to please enforce the law. We have substantial state resources positioned right around from the justices’ homes. I speak to them frequently to make sure that they feel adequately protected and I’m encouraged by those conversations. This is not a moment where we can allow anything to happen to our justices. Broadly speaking, this is about democracy.
ROBERT COSTA: On the court, the court is moving right now on several different fronts. It could move on same-sex marriage in the coming years. Will you take any steps to codify same-sex marriage in Virginia?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: I believe that what the Supreme Court has done most recently is so consistent with what we know the Constitution stands for which is returning the rights to states to make these decisions like Roe v. Wade, protecting, in fact, the right of lawmakers to make laws, not an executive branch to pass rules and regulations that overstep boundaries. This is what our Supreme Court has- has been so focused on–
ROBERT COSTA: — Yes or no, though. Protect same-sex marriage or not?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: In Virginia, we actually do protect same-sex marriage in Virginia. That’s the law in Virginia and therefore as Governor of Virginia, we protect same-sex marriage. I think what’s happening in- right now is that there are so many- there’s so many elements that are trying to pull people apart and we have a chance to hold them together.
ROBERT COSTA: We’ll be right back. We need to take a break for a moment but we’ve got a lot more to ask Governor Youngkin and we will be right back.
ROBERT COSTA: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to continue our conversation with Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Younkin. Governor Youngkin. You were just in Nebraska on Saturday speaking to Republicans across the country. You have also said President Biden was legitimately elected. Former President Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen. Should he stop saying that?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, let me begin with my trip to Nebraska, which was really great fun. Governor Ricketts had really helped me in my race and it was a great chance for me to show up and help in the next race to elect a Republican in Nebraska. And one of the things that I’m really focused on is helping Republican governors get elected. You know, I’ve got a big job in Virginia, and it takes the- takes the vast majority of my time, but I do think there’s spots that I can be helpful and so I plan on doing that this year. Of course, the other thing we plan on doing this year is helping congressional wins in Virginia. And I think there’s a great opportunity there.
ROBERT COSTA: What about former President Trump?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, I think this is a moment for the Republican Party to- to recognize exactly what I recognized last year, was this is not an or moment, but an and moment. We brought together Virginians last year, forever Trumpers, never Trumpers, independents, Democrats. We won the- we won the Latino vote, the Asian vote, the largest voter turnout for black Virginians that anybody can remember to vote for a Republican. I think this is the future of the Republican Party, which is to recognize that we have to come together in these common sense kitchen table issues that are on the forefront of everybody’s mind, inflation schools, safe communities, an economy that isn’t stealing everybody’s hard working money through inflation, but gives them a job. This is where the Republicans–
ROBERT COSTA: Should he stop talking about 2020?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: This is the Republicans who- that we can win.
ROBERT COSTA: So former President Trump should stop talking about it?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: I think what I did last year was I focused on 2021. And we had 5,000 People come and volunteer at elections and that gave everybody confidence in our election process. They showed up, they voted in record numbers for a governor’s race, and we won.
ROBERT COSTA: The January 6 Committee continues its work this week. Some members of the committee believe the former president has criminal wrongdoing. There have been many revelations made by this committee. What do you believe you should do in the wake of all of this new evidence? Can you continue to support someone like President Trump?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, let me begin with what happened on January 6, with the- with the invasion of our capital was- was awful and it’s a blight on our democracy. I have to be honest, though, I talked to 1,000s of Virginians, and the topics they want to talk about is not January 6. What they want to talk about is runaway inflation, gas prices. They wanna talk about crime and their communities. They wanna talk about education and the rights of parents to be engaged in their kids’ schools. I just fundamentally believe that- that the media’s attention on this while- while I think it’s important that immediate is really not what voters are focused on.
ROBERT COSTA: It’s not just the media. Some Republican governors, like Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland have said President Trump shouldn’t run again. Is that your view?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: President Trump’s gonna do what President Trump wants to do. And my job is to have the best Virginia we can have and to demonstrate that Republican- Republican agenda on low taxes and great schools, and safe communities, and by the way, a thriving economy that’s working with companies like Boeing and Raytheon moving to Virginia. This is the Republican agenda of the future. And this is the one that I think we’re delivering in Virginia and I think this is the one that’s going to really carry a red wave across the nation this year.
ROBERT COSTA: So that that’s your agenda. That’s your focus. You also have political capital, you are a rising star in the Republican Party. Every reporter wants to know how politicians use that political capital, you have a political action committee that’s busy right now. Will you support and spend money through your PAC to help candidates like Doug Mastriano, the election denier who’s running for governor in Pennsylvania on the Republican side?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Well, I believe what I can do with- with our supporters is first get congressional representatives elected in Virginia. First and foremost, I think the road to the majority in our House of Representatives comes through Virginia, and I’m going to spend- I’m going to spend real time there making sure that we win these elections. And then I believe there are governor’s elections around the country where I think I can make a difference.
ROBERT COSTA: Is Mastriano’s one of them?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: I have a huge job in Virginia and so I’ve got to be real careful in how much I spend time out of Virginia. We’re still working on my agenda. But I think there are states like Virginia, where people recognize that a Democratic governor has not done a good job and a Republican governor, like Republican governors all over America can do a good job. And those are the ones that I’m going to go support. We haven’t figured out where I’m going yet nut at the end of the day, I’m going to help some Republican governors get elected.
ROBERT COSTA: When you look at a map, Nebraska right next to Iowa, the early voting state in the 2024 presidential election. Are you open, and your family, to considering a run for President in 2024.
GOV. YOUNGKIN: First I am hugely humbled by this discussion that’s going on–
ROBERT COSTA: Some donors have come to you.
GOV. YOUNGKIN: And- and- and the reality of course is I think it’s based on the fact that I won in a state that was blue, and we turned it red. I ran on a platform that we’re delivering. And I often find it shocking that people are surprised that a person runs for office and then goes to work to deliver on what they promised they were going to do. And so I think my job is to be a great governor in Virginia.
ROBERT COSTA: But are you open to considering, along with your family, the idea of a presidential run in 2024?
GOV. YOUNGKIN: That’s not a decision that we have even begun to undertake. The reality of course is I’ve been in- I’ve been governor of Virginia for six months, we’ve got an extraordinary amount done. $4 billion tax cuts, a record budget for education, $400 million into law enforcement to raise salaries and keep our community safe. This is where I’m focused.
ROBERT COSTA: I didn’t hear you rule it out but I hope if you make a decision you come back here and break the news with CBS.
GOV. YOUNGKIN: Great.
ROBERT COSTA: Governor Youngkin thank you so much for being here, and we’ll be right back.