Youngkin's remarks came as he spoke about the educational improvements he will implement if he is elected.
"We all know education starts with curriculum," Youngkin told his supporters at a rally on Saturday. "We will teach all history, the good and the bad."
"America has fabulous chapters and it's the greatest country in the world, but we also have some abhorrent chapters in our history, we must teach them," Youngkin added, saying that under his administration, children will not be taught "to view everything through a lens of race."
"We know in our hearts it's wrong," Youngkin declared. "Dr. Martin Luther King implored us to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. Therefore, on day one, I will ban critical race theory in our schools."
A Fox News Poll from earlier this month found that a strong majority of Virginia parents agree they should tell schools what to teach their children, amid high-profile controversies over transgender policies and critical race theory in Virginia schools.
The education debate has reached a fever pitch in Northern Virginia, where parents have turned up in droves to express their concerns about COVID-19 policies, transgender policies, and critical race theory, a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover "systemic racism" beneath the surface. Some parents have characterized CRT as divisive, alleging it encourages white students to view themselves as oppressors.
The campaign of Youngkin also took aim at comments made in 2019 by his opponent Terry McAuliffe, who shrugged off Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal as a "dumb mistake," months after calling on him to resign.
A new video ad by the Youngkin campaign highlights McAuliffe’s apparent flip-flopping on his view about the scandal, in which Northam, a Democrat, apologized for appearing in a yearbook photo showing a man in blackface and another in a KKK hood and robe. Northam later recanted his apology and denied even being in the photo.
An investigation into the photo proved to be inconclusive, with investigators unable to determine whether or not the governor was in fact present in the picture. Democrats, including McAuliffe, called on Northam to resign but he refused.
The Youngkin ad released Saturday featured comments by McAuliffe, whom Northam endorsed, that were made only months apart. In February of 2019, McAuliffe called the photo "racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age" and said it didn’t matter if Northam was involved, but the photo itself should be enough for him to resign for the state to "move forward."