The House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is intensifying this month with a series of blockbuster public hearings. But in Virginia, at least according to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, “not many people are watching it” as they focus on issues like gas prices and crime.
“I talk to Virginians every day, and what they’re talking about is not Jan. 6,” he said Thursday. “What they’re talking about is runaway inflation. They’re talking about gas prices through the roof, grocery prices. They’re worried about crime in their local neighborhoods.”
The first-term governor, who began his term in January, discussed the Capitol riot investigation during an interview on “CBS Mornings.” He also talked about the looming Supreme Court decision on abortion rights and his attempts to pass a state gas tax “holiday” in Virginia.
The interview came hours before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection was to hold another public hearing, focusing on former President Trump’s pressure on Justice Department officials to support his election lies.
Youngkin, who was endorsed by Trump but did not campaign with him, called the attack on the Capitol “a real blight on our democracy,” but he said there’s been too much focus on it.
“I think the media cares a lot more about this than the people do,” he said. “There’s primetime coverage and, candidly, not many people are watching it. This is because around the kitchen tables in Virginia, and I think America, it’s runaway inflation, it’s crime, it’s schools. These are the issues that Virginians are worried about.”
Despite Youngkin’s comments, a recent CBS News poll found that most Americans — 70% — say it’s at least somewhat important to find out what happened on Jan. 6 and who was involved.
Youngkin was also asked about his proposal to temporarily suspend Virginia’s gas tax, a plan similar to President Biden’s push this week for Congress to do the same at the federal level. Virginia’s state Legislature, however, has rejected Youngkin’s plan.
The governor, who did not address Biden’s proposal, blamed Democrats for blocking his efforts in the state.
“I felt like the easiest way as a governor to give Virginians a break when we can afford it in Virginia is to suspend our gas tax for three months,” he said, noting that it would save drivers about $0.26 a gallon.
“Unfortunately, our Senate, led by Democrats, said no. I’ve sent the bill down three times, and they’ve said no three times. And i don’t understand why because this is such an easy way for us to give Virginians a break,” Youngkin said.
The plan would cost his state about $400 million, he said.
The nationwide average for a gallon of regular is a little less than $5, and 14 states average more than $5, according to AAA. In Virginia, the average price of regular gas is $4.78 a gallon, which is 63% more than a year ago.