Democratic state senator says sending troops to border makes Va. ‘look like a joke’

There’s some political backlash in Virginia after Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that he would deploy 100 National Guard troops to Texas for a month to help secure the southern border.

The deployment is expected to cost $3.1 million, according to Youngkin’s office.

“Party leadership will definitely be looking into whether the governor has the legal authority to deploy National Guard troops for this purpose,” said Virginia Democratic state. Sen Scott Surovell.

Youngkin said his decision responded to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who asked other states to pitch in and help deal with increased illegal drugs and human trafficking along the border.


Many Democratic lawmakers in Virginia were skeptical, arguing that the move had more to do with Youngkin’s political future and potentially becoming a Republican presidential candidate next year.

“I think it makes our state look like a joke,” Surovell said. “Our taxpayer resources shouldn’t be part of ‘Youngkin for President.'”

Youngkin, a former private equity executive barred under Virginia law from seeking a second consecutive term, is frequently mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential contender.

He said earlier this month that he had no plans to launch such a bid in 2023. Youngkin said that the deployment to Texas was specifically related to fentanyl coming across the border and spreading around the nation, turning “every state into a border state,” The Associated Press reported.

Youngkin said in a statement that fentanyl and illicit drugs are flowing over from the border, “devastating Virginia families and communities, an average of five Virginians die per day from fentanyl.”

Surovell argued that fentanyl is a problem that should be dealt with through local “intervention and enforcement.”

“The solutions don’t lie in sending troops down to the Mexican border,” Surovell said.

Republican governors, including Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, have recently announced plans to deploy troops to Mexico.

President Joe Biden announced in early May plans to send 1,500 active-duty troops to the border in addition to the 2,500 National Guard members already there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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