HERNDON, Va. – Calling President Trump a “one-man wrecking crew” to Virginia’s economy, Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal is “mean-spirited” and “immoral” and called the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement “one of the dumbest decisions” he’s ever heard.
McAuliffe also revealed that he’s not considering a presidential run of his own in 2020. Speculation about a potential McAuliffe run was heightened this week after the Virginia governor launched an anti-Trump “victory fund.”
“The good news is the Trump budget is never going to see the light of day. Already Republican senators have said dead on arrival, so that’s the good news, but I’m still concerned they would put a budget out that would really hurt so many millions of people in our great country – what it would do to Virginians. I mean, it cuts the Appalachian Regional Commission, which helps the folks in rural parts of our state; the Community Development Block Grants are ending. They cut the EPA by 30 percent, the State Department by 30 percent – so dramatic cuts and it really hurts people who are the most vulnerable, so we’re going to fight it,” McAuliffe told PJM during an interview at the Herndon Senior Center on Wednesday after he signed legislation aimed at “protecting the elderly” in Virginia.
“We’re going to take action. I’ve talked to my congressional delegation; it’s a mean-spirited, immoral budget, but as I say, I don’t think it’s going to see the light of day in the Congress because it just makes no sense – why hurt so many people to give a tax cut to billionaires? And the most vulnerable are really the ones who are going to be hurt the most,” he added.
Community Development Block Grants partially fund the Meals on Wheels program in some states. McAuliffe called the grants “absolutely critical” in Virginia.
“Here in Virginia, Meals on Wheels does about 3,000 of our seniors, I mean, this is a vital program. How would you like to tell the folks here – not really ‘here’ because they are not Meals on Wheels, but their friends who are in desperate need of nutritious meals – that the president has cut off funding for Meals on Wheels? At the same time, he’s doing it to give a tax cut to billionaires. Where are the priorities? As I say, it’s immoral. These community development block grants are absolutely critical for communities to help the folks most vulnerable,” McAuliffe told PJM.
“So let me just say this: elections matter and I’m still bothered by the 92 million Americans who stayed home on Election Day and didn’t vote, and now they are all wondering, how could this possibly happen? President Trump’s at about 35 percent in Virginia. He has been horrible for Virginia from the federal hiring freeze he announced day one to his horrible travel ban to his immigration policy. He has been a one-man wrecking crew to my economy here and we’re going to continue to fight back,” he added.
Trump announced in the Rose Garden this week that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change. McAuliffe disagrees with the decision.
“One of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever heard. You’ve got to remember every country in the world is in this agreement except for Nicaragua and Syria. So Donald Trump has now put our country with Syria and Nicaragua against the entire world. First of all, climate change is real. It is happening,” McAuliffe said.
“You go with me down to Norfolk, Virginia, on a day it’s raining and see many roads closed down. It affects the largest naval base in the world right there in Hampton Roads. This is a real issue. We’ve got to deal with it. It’s about our health. It’s about our environment. It’s about our children and it’s also about job creation – clean-energy jobs are the future jobs and Donald Trump is trying to walk away from all of that and isolate America one more time,” he added.
When asked what he thinks is the motive behind Trump’s decision, McAuliffe responded, “I think the motive is he’s trying to protect the oil barons in this country. So, the oil barons, Syria, Nicaragua and Donald Trump – that’s quite a collection.”
McAuliffe, who will be term-limited out of office at the end of this year, was also asked if he is considering a run for the White House in 2020.
“I am not. I am focused on being the greatest governor I can be. I’ve done about $16 billion in economic activity, I’m trying to get to $20 [billion], shatter every all-time record in Virginia history and that’s what my focus is, and we’ll see what happens after that. But right now, I’m honestly focused day to day, like right here today, on signing these bills to help the elderly in Virginia,” he responded. “I mean, that’s important.”