McAuliffe: I'll Have the 'Funnest Campaign' If I Run for President

Terry McAuliffe / Getty Images
April 2, 2019

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) said he will run the "funnest campaign" and won't apologize for being a white male if he joins the large field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

McAuliffe told conservative radio host John Fredericks Monday he is still considering jumping into the race, despite having passed his previously self-imposed March 31 deadline. Asked by Fredericks if he was "going to run and apology tour and apologize ... for being a successful white male," McAuliffe said no.

"If I do run, it will be the funnest campaign. It will be a happy tour," he said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

McAuliffe agreed with the sentiments of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who said he didn't want to go on an "apology tour" like former Vice President Joe Biden and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) have for having white privilege.

"This is a self-made man who created a vibrant business, thousands and thousands of people he hired, paid 'em well and provided them with benefits," McAuliffe said of Bloomberg. "And that's going to be a negative? I mean are you kidding me? That is the American success story. He is an entrepreneur's entrepreneur."

Bloomberg has said he won't run, although Axios reported the billionaire could get into the race if Biden ultimately decided not to run. The Times-Dispatch report also noted McAuliffe's decision to run could hinge on whether Biden gets into the race.

He told the Free Beacon last year he was the best-suited Democrat to take on President Donald Trump and suggested he'd clobber Trump if he invaded his personal space during a debate.

McAuliffe said there "may not be oxygen" for someone like him, given his links to the Democratic establishment and reputation as a more center-left figure in a primary defined by candidates racing to the left. McAuliffe is closely tied to the Clintons, served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and said he's "absolutely" a capitalist.

CNN reported last month many top Democratic donors are waiting to see what McAuliffe does before committing to a candidate. He's known for his fundraising prowess while running the DNC; he even wrote in a memoir about leaving his wife and newborn son in the car for an important event that raised a million dollars.

McAuliffe suggested Virginia is currently a laughingstock, after Fredericks pointed out GOP issues before he took office and now with the current Democratic leadership. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring (D.) admitted wearing blackface in their youth in February, and Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax (D.) has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.

Northam and Fairfax resisted calls for their resignations by numerous prominent Democrats, including McAuliffe.

"The only period we were not a laughingstock was when you were governor. Right?" Fredericks said.

"Right," McAuliffe said, claiming he didn't have any scandals while running the state from 2014 to 2018.