Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe doubled down on his claims that critical race theory does not exist, calling Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin’s opposition to critical race a "racist dog whistle."
McAuliffe doubled down on his claim during a Tuesday interview on MSNBC’S Morning Joe, attacking Youngkin’s opposition to the controversial ideology that is fueling raucous debate across the commonwealth.
"He talks about critical race theory. He talks about having these parents meetings on critical race theory," McAuliffe said. "It really bothers me because it is a racist dog whistle."
Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for the Youngkin campaign, blasted McAuliffe's claim in a statement to Fox News.
"Terry McAuliffe mocks and demeans parents’ concerns instead of offering them solutions," Porter said. "Glenn Youngkin will restore excellence in our schools when he is governor by ensuring children are empowered to chase their dreams and taught how to think, not what to think."
"That is why Glenn Youngkin will give parents a voice in their children's education, will get the divisive political agenda of Critical Race Theory out of Virginia classrooms and institute a high-quality civics curriculum that celebrates our country, teaches both the good and bad aspects of American history, and brings people together around our common ideals of liberty and justice for all instead of pitting neighbor against neighbor based on their skin color," she continued.
When asked for comment, McAuliffe spokesperson Renzo Oliveri echoed the governor's claims that critical race theory "is not being taught in Virginia public schools," accusing Youngkin of "lying about it" and claiming it is "just another one of his Trumpian conspiracy theories like pushing for an audit of the 2020 voting machines."
"Glenn is closing out his campaign just like he started it: through divisive dog whistles to distract from his dangerous agenda," Olivari continued. "His economic plan would destroy Virginia's economy and his education plan would move money away from public schools and into private schools."
Tuesday’s interview marks the latest in McAuliffe’s claims about critical race theory. The Democratic former governor made the same assertion in a Sunday interview, claiming that the ideology being taught at Virginia schools is "made up."
"This is a made-up. This is a Trump, Betsy DeVos, Glenn Youngkin plan to divide people," McAuliffe said. "It really bothers me. I try to unite people."
"I really hate to see what Glenn Youngkin is trying to do to Virginia what Donald Trump did to our country," McAuliffe added. " I really hate to see the division, the hatred. We're putting these children in this horrible position. Let's just be clear. We don't teach critical race theory."
McAuliffe had his feet held to the fire on the subject by a local news outlet during a roundtable discussion, claiming the ideology is not taught in Virginia schools and refusing to define the term.
"It doesn't matter," McAuliffe said. "It's not taught here in Virginia so I'm not going to spend my time – I'm not even spending my time because the school board and everyone else has come out and said it's not taught. It's racist. It's a dog whistle."
McAuliffe also came under fire in June on the subject when he called concerns regarding critical race theory a "right-wing conspiracy."
"That's another right-wing conspiracy," he said. "This is totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin. This is who they are. It's a conspiracy theory."
Additionally, McAuliffe was hit with backlash when he said on stage during the second gubernatorial debate that he does not believe that parents of students should not have a say in what schools teach their kids.
"I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," McAuliffe said just miles from Loudoun County, where the debate on the subject of critical race theory is in full swing.
Earlier this year, two parents were arrested during a protest after the Loudoun County School Board cut off public comments during a fiery meeting on the subject.
McAuliffe did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.