David Rubenstein helped make Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wealthy and successful when they worked together at the Carlyle Group private equity firm, but on Tuesday he couldn’t make his former colleague talk about whether he wants to run for president or vice president.
“Not for lack of trying,” Youngkin (R) replied.
Youngkin managed to sound like a candidate at times, though, taking swipes at President Biden for his handling of the economy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and even his focus and energy level.
Rupert Murdoch encouraged Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin to seek presidency
When Rubenstein asked if Youngkin thought a candidate in his or her late 70s or early 80s was too old to run, Youngkin said age alone wasn’t a disqualifier.
“I just think the key thing is that they can do the job,” he said. “I really struggle to understand how Joe Biden does what he does, because I think that he is he is challenged by it and he demonstrates it every day.”
Though Biden, 80, has kept up a grueling schedule — traveling this month to India and Vietnam before returning to Washington to grapple with House Republicans threatening a government shutdown — Youngkin said he believes the president “doesn’t project the ability” to deal with complex problems, which “weakens America.”
He blamed Biden’s “weakness” for not preventing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said he had mishandled international support, adding that Europe needs to carry more of the burden. When Rubenstein pointed out that Donald Trump and some House Republicans want to withdraw U.S. support for Ukraine, Youngkin said he disagrees with that.
“There are ways I think we should have done this much better, but we must continue to support” Ukraine, Youngkin said.
Rubenstein suggested a solution: “Well why not run for president yourself and fix that problem?”
“You’re getting even more creative,” Youngkin said.
Rubenstein spent years preserving objects. Now he’s looking for meaning.
Rubenstein has a wry, persistent interview style that was especially pointed with Youngkin, who he has known for nearly 30 years. Youngkin, 56, started work at Carlyle in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become co-CEO in 2018. Rubenstein and two other co-founders had tapped Youngkin as a leader who knew Carlyle’s culture and could carry it into the future, but Youngkin surprised them in 2020 by deciding to step down and run for governor of Virginia.
“I remember telling Glenn he had no chance of ever going into politics and getting elected,” Rubenstein said. “I’m not sure I ever asked,” Youngkin replied, to laughter from the audience.
Rubenstein noted that Virginia is electing all 140 seats in the General Assembly this year and Youngkin has made a priority of maintaining Republican control of the House of Delegates and trying to flip the Democratically controlled Senate.
“One of the issues that some people say you would like to use a Republican Senate for is to have an abortion ban or a limit,” Rubenstein said, adding that Youngkin has called for a 15-week limit on abortion — with exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. Current Virginia law allows abortions through the second trimester, or about 26 weeks, and into the third if three doctors say it’s necessary.
“And you think you can pass that and you think the people of Virginia really want that ban?” Rubenstein said.
Youngkin responded by accusing Democrats of wanting to allow abortions through and past the moment of birth. He also recycled a Republican talking point that former governor Ralph Northam (D), a pediatric neurologist, once advocated infanticide. “The former governor came out and said that you keep a child comfortable while you decided whether that child lived or died. And that is an extreme position and it just didn’t sit well with Virginians,” Youngkin said.
Abortion such a hot issue in Va. elections, Dems are fighting each other
During that 2019 interview, Northam was actually describing what happens when a baby is born with fatal abnormalities.
But Youngkin said a 15-week limit is “a place to come together” for all sides of the debate.
At another point, Rubenstein asked Youngkin why he has been so against “critical race theory” when the academic framework for studying systemic racism was never on the curriculum for Virginia public schools.
“Don’t fall for that trick, because it’s not a class,” Youngkin said. “It’s actually a philosophy of teaching. And unfortunately, was it was embedded in our school system.”
Again and again, Rubenstein pressed Youngkin on whether he planned to seek higher office. At first, Youngkin offered his usual disclaimer that he’s humbled by the question but focused on the Nov. 7 legislative elections.
By Nov. 8, Rubenstein said, if Republicans have won both chambers, “will you then focus on whether you want to run for president?”
Youngkin said Rubenstein knew from his time at Carlyle that he likes to focus on a single objective. “And my objective is to hold our House and flip our Senate,” he said.
Rubenstein tried a different tack: If Trump is the nominee and calls Youngkin to be his running mate, what would he say?
“The first thing I would tell you is that I also often dreamed about being an NBA basketball star growing up,” Youngkin said. “I mean, there are great hypotheticals in this world. My job is to be the best governor that I can be. And and I’ve never, ever gotten a promotion without doing a good job.”
Source: Washington Post
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