WASHINGTON — Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) said he could beat President Trump “like a rented mule” in the 2020 presidential election but ultimately decided not to join the race.
“Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been reaching out to folks all over the country dying to run for president thinking I could really make a difference. I know I could beat Bush like a — or Trump like a rented mule,” McAuliffe said on CNN Wednesday evening. “But we’ve got issues in Virginia and I’m concerned about Virginia.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) was McAuliffe’s lieutenant governor. McAuliffe called for Northam to resign after a racist photo from his 1984 yearbook page of two individuals — one in a KKK outfit and the other in blackface — surfaced online. Northam has not resigned.
McAuliffe said he could spend his time running for president or helping elect a Democratic House and Senate in Virginia, noting that it would be the first time in 26 years with the Democratic Party in control of the state’s government.
“I’ve listened to the Virginians and I’m going to help Virginia for the next six months. I could spend eight months traveling around the country running for president or six months really making a difference,” he said.
McAuliffe was recently asked how he would differentiate himself from the other Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“If I get into the race I’m going to talk about a results oriented governor, a pro-jobs governor who created a record amount of jobs and economic activity but was a very progressive governor; restored more felon rights than any governor in U.S. history, kept our women’s clinics open, invested a historic amount into our K-12 system, $1 billion, and led on renewable energy — everybody has their own message,” McAuliffe said. “It’s not me verses Bernie. Everybody is going to have their own messages, which is great. I commend Sen. Sanders — 300,000 plus donors. It’s impressive and I congratulate him.”
McAuliffe was asked if he agreed with former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), a former DNC chairman, that there could be a brokered convention because of the large amount of candidates.
“That would be interesting if it got all the way to the convention. Listen, we’re going to have a lot of candidates running. It’s great. Let them all get out there with great big new ideas,” he said in February. “The focus is on beating Donald Trump and we all need to come together in the end. Let it be a brokered convention or someone wins the nomination before that but, you know, it’s going to be a good exciting time.”