RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- With just a few weeks left in his term as governor, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he wants to finish strong.
McAuliffe feels like he has a lot to celebrate.
"Governing Magazine just gave me the award of 'Public Official of the Year'in the United States of America,'” he said.
He spoke to 13News Now from his office in the Patrick Henry Building on the state capitol grounds.
The Democrat said he is not ruling out a run for President but insisted that his focus is finishing his term on a strong note.
“I tell everyone honestly, I’m going to finish this job strong on January 13th," said McAuliffe.
He said next year, he plans to travel the country working on veterans’ issues and helping the Democrats in 36 gubernatorial races.
Even though he said he’s making no plans to run, nothing is off the table.
“At the right time, I will give it the thought that I need to do it,” he said.
Sounding like a candidate, McAuliffe rattled off a list of accomplishments over his term, from significant growth at the Port of Virginia to ADP locating its headquarters in Downtown Norfolk. He said he feels he fulfilled his promise to Hampton Roads in areas, including transportation and education.
“We have created 207,000 new jobs in the state since I’ve been governor, $19.5 billion in new capital and a lot of that went down to the Hampton Roads region,” he said.
His biggest unfulfilled wish, he explained, is not being able to secure Medicaid expansion, a challenge he knew would be tough coming in working with the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
No question, he said his darkest day was when white nationalists crowded Charlottesville for a rally in August. Counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed when she was struck by a car and two state troopers on patrol in a helicopter died when their aircraft crashed that day.
“I never in my life had ever experienced such hatred, such divisiveness and I kept asking myself, 'Where does this come from in this country?'” said McAuliffe.
The Governor recalled speaking to President Trump during the chaos and feeling assured Trump understood the need to unify the country, but then something changed.
“I don’t know what happened. After our call, he delayed his press conference for an hour and I think the folks in the White House got in touch with him and he went on national television and blamed both sides.”
McAuliffe said he doesn’t think President Trump is racist, but instead has no moral core.
“This is a function of him wanting to win. In his whole life, he will say or do anything to win. So if he has to come off and act like a racist to get the good ‘ol boys down there, he’s going to say it."
This is part of why McAuliffe said Trump isn’t fit to be President. But he wouldn't say right now if he’s the one who should replace him.
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