CNN host Jim Acosta on Tuesday suggested Virginia was being run like a “Soviet-style police state” under new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
During a segment on his fill-in primetime show, Acosta, while making the comparison, cited an email tip line set up by Youngkin’s administration in which parents can report teachers that teach “divisive” topics to their children, such as critical race theory, while also mocking the way Youngkin dressed.
Acosta began the segment by criticizing Republicans for, what he referred to as, the “latest culture war obsession.”
“In office less than two weeks and Governor Glenn Youngkin has already set up an email tip line for parents to report teachers for teaching divisive subjects,” he said while claiming that the “tactic of pitting citizen against citizen” was also going on in other Republican-run states, such as Texas’ new legal mechanism allowing lawsuits against those helping others obtain abortions.
Youngkin touted the implementation of the tip email on Monday, describing it as a way for parents to notify the administration of instances in which they felt their fundamental rights were being violated, their children weren’t being respected, or where “inherently divisive” practices were taking place in schools.
“You know, I seem to remember Glenn Youngkin campaigning in a fleece vest in Virginia. He was running as a different kind of Republican. I was told there was going to be a vest, not a Soviet-style police state across the Potomac from Washington,” Acosta told liberal writer Molly Jong-Fast.
Acosta did not go into further detail as to how Virginia was similar to a communist state under the former Soviet Union.
“Yeah, it’s really weird,” Jong-Fast said. “He was elected. He wouldn’t let Trump come and campaign with him. He sort of pretended to be this kind of non-Trumpy Trump. And then as soon as he got in there he started taking away masking in Virginia public schools. He started with these teacher hot lines where you can rat out your teacher. I mean he’s really gone full Ron DeSantis right away.”
Acosta cited a report that claimed there were dozens of new proposals that would allow parents “to punish teachers” for teaching things they didn’t like.
“I guess if you want to cancel your teacher you just have to e-mail the governor in Virginia and I guess rat them out in other ways in other states,” he said.
Critics took to social media to blast Acosta, with some referring to his comparison as “a bridge too far” and “evil.”