RICHMOND, Va. — Former governor Doug Wilder called for Governor Glenn Youngkin to immediately replace Martin Brown from his role as the state's chief diversity, opportunity, and inclusion officer, calling his comments at the Virginia Military Institute last month “inexcusable.”
During a news conference inside the senate, Wilder went on to say Brown’s "reckless" comments — where he said "DEI is dead" — demonstrate a lack of leadership and accountability.
"I don't believe Governor Youngkin has the experience or the knowledge or the wherewithal to be considered anywhere near an expert relative to diversity, inclusion or racism in Virginia," Wilder said.
Other Democratic leaders have demanded Brown step down on his own, including State Senator Lamont Bagby, and the Virginia NAACP.
Youngkin has continued to stand by Brown.
In a statement following the speech at VMI, he said “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.”
Youngkin doubled down on his support of Brown's comments during a bill signing Monday, where he spoke publicly about the controversy for the first time.
"We've gotta get back to the basic principles that we know are right and away from the bombastic language that DEI has become, where people are professing that we want equal outcomes for anyone at any cost. And where all of sudden excellence has been subordinated to equity," said Youngkin. "Let's put words down and go work on the things that we know are right. And that's what we're after and that's what I think we can do."
He told CBS 6 he'd advance equal opportunities for all Virginians instead of guaranteeing equal outcomes.
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