Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville ended in tragedy with the deaths of 32-year-old protestor Heather Hayes, and the deaths of Virginia State Police Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates. As the two-year anniversary of that eventful weekend approaches, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has released a new book recounting the events of that day – as they unfolded under his watch.

In “Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism,” McAuliffe profiles the people involved and affected by the events of that weekend and examines Virginia’s history of racism. He characterizes the rally and its aftermath as a “wake up call” that forced America to reckon with the rise of Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the violence surrounding this current of ideology. McAuliffe also lays out an action plan for correcting the deep racial divide in the United States and curbing the rise of nationalism.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joins Kojo in the studio to talk about his new book, the upcoming elections and the state of affairs in Virginia politics.

Produced by Monna Kashfi

Guests

Transcript

  • 12:32:02

    KOJO NNAMDIWelcome back. The 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville left three people dead and dozens more injured. As the two-year anniversary of that weekend approaches, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has released a new book recounting the events of that day as they unfolded under his watch. In "Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism," McAuliffe profiles the people involved and affected by the events of that weekend, and examines Virginia's history of racism. He characterizes the rally and its aftermath as a wakeup call that forced America to reckon with the rise of Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the violence surrounding it. He joins me now to talk about the book, and more. Governor McAuliffe, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:32:43

    TERRY MCAULIFFEOh, Kojo, it's great to be back with you.

  • 12:32:45

    NNAMDIHere we are, another tragic weekend with two mass shootings. One is relevant -- unfortunately, to this conversation -- in El Paso, a shooting that left now 21 people dead, was allegedly carried out by a white man who posted a racist manifesto online prior to the attack, describing -- quoting here -- "a Hispanic invasion of Texas” and blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs and blending cultural lines in the United States. Having delved deeply yourself into the issue of white nationalism for this book, first, what are your thoughts about what happened?

  • 12:33:23

    MCAULIFFENot surprised it happened. Sad, another tragedy, but you cannot have the President of the United States of America -- I mean, he came out on Charlottesville that day as a full-fledged racist.

  • 12:33:32

    NNAMDIHe spoke to you on the phone that day.

  • 12:33:35

    MCAULIFFEHe did.

  • 12:33:35

    NNAMDIAnd, apparently, because you have known him socially, you have golfed with him, apparently, he had a conversation with you that left you with the impression...

  • 12:33:44

    MCAULIFFEYeah.

  • 12:33:44

    NNAMDI...that he was going to come out with a denunciation of white nationalism and white supremacy. Instead, he talked about good people on both sides. How was today different?

  • 12:33:52

    MCAULIFFEHe did. In fact, he called me, as he would, as he called the governors here during the tragedies that we had there. And we had a conversation, but I did tell him exactly what was happening in Charlottesville. And I did say to him, I said, Mr. President, you have got to tone down this hate speech. You're dividing the country. It is bad for the country. I said, you know, Mr. President, it's also hurting -- we had the Muslim ban, as you know, from the countries. We've had the ICE raids in Northern Virginia. I said, you're killing my economy. He then went into a 10-minute thing about the economy.

  • 12:34:22

    MCAULIFFEBut, at the end, I felt -- I said, you do your press conference, sir. I'll wait until you go. I felt very good he was going to go out and condemn these horrible people. I had told him, Kojo, I have a thousand people. Every other word is the F and N word. Every other word is the F and C word. They're telling Jews they want to burn them like they burned them in Auschwitz. I said, these are horrible people. I said, you do your press conference. I hung up the phone. I waited a half an hour. I waited an hour. I waited an hour and a half. I waited two hours. What happened?

  • 12:34:51

    MCAULIFFEYou know, Kojo, what happened. His staff got a hold of him and said, no, sir. You are not going to condemn Neo-Nazis. In fact, you're not going to use the word Neo-Nazi. You're not going to use the word white supremacist. And he came out and said there were good people on both sides. There are not good people in the white supremacists and the Neo-Nazis. Heather Heyer was killed that day. I lost two state troopers that day. There were horrible people in the Neo-Nazi and white supremacist side.

  • 12:35:15

    NNAMDIWhat do you think about the president's response today, to the shootings in El Paso and Dayton?

  • 12:35:19

    MCAULIFFETo me, it was all words. I thought that -- I've been doing television all morning. I started early this morning on CNN. And I said, what the president ought to do today, Kojo, if he really means it and really wants to heal our country, he ought to come out and say, first of all, I apologize. I am sorry for my rhetoric, and I’m not going to do it anymore. That would've sent a signal to our country to stop this hatred, stop this division. I'm telling young people today, I'm not going to do this anymore. We need to heal, as a nation.

  • 12:35:48

    MCAULIFFESecond thing he should've done, is said I'm calling Mitch McConnell. I'm telling him I want the Senate in session tomorrow. I want a vote this week on the House bill for universal background checks, assault weapon ban, you know, high-capacity magazine ban and closing the gun show loophole.

  • 12:36:05

    NNAMDIHe did neither of those.

  • 12:36:06

    MCAULIFFEHe did neither of those. It was words written for him.

  • 12:36:08

    NNAMDI(overlapping) Which suggests to you that he is insincere?

  • 12:36:13

    MCAULIFFEHe gave words today that were written to him -- Kojo, you know when someone's giving a speech from their heart. These were just words he gave out, and he talked about this rhetoric. Kojo, it's his rhetoric. He's the one that said that Mexicans were criminals, rapists, murders. I mean, he started, as you know, in the '70s. He would not let blacks rent apartments from him. He was sued by the Nixon Justice Department. When he went into Trump Castle, his casino, all blacks had to get off the floor and to go to the back of the room. I mean, this man has a history.

  • 12:36:46

    MCAULIFFEHe re-tweeted white supremacist and Neo-Nazi tweets during his campaign. And then he wanted to ban all Muslims from America. I mean, this is not surprising.

  • 12:36:57

    NNAMDIThis weekend will mark the two-year anniversary of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. Last week, Charlottesville police announced that they're planning what they're calling a very nimble and very soft presence in the city for the anniversary in light of what we've seen over the past 48 hours. Do you think that's still the right approach?

  • 12:37:18

    MCAULIFFEWell, I think we're in a different place. Listen, we have got to be all about it. Now, as you say, we're up to 21 people from El Paso, dozens injured. What happened in Dayton, Ohio, with nine killed there, this has to be about those families and what they're going through right now. I talk about in the book, in the last part of the book, and John Lewis, Congressman Lewis wrote the forward for me, and he and I worked together on the final part of the book.

  • 12:37:47

    MCAULIFFEAs bad as Charlottesville was, Kojo, and the point I try to make is it ripped the scab off on racism. I think people had felt that we dealt with racism, and it didn't exist anymore. I'll be honest, white people, this is not a topic that they like to discuss. And they have reconciliation commissions -- which are worthless to me, a bunch of people sitting around. What Charlottesville did was rip it off and say, no, racism is here today. And until we really have a big discussion to deal with the roots of racism in our country, we've got inequities in school, in housing, in healthcare. We got inequities -- we have a racist criminal justice system.

  • 12:38:21

    MCAULIFFEI mean, Kojo, I pardoned a guy, going out the door, a young African American man, who had committed five robberies. He was a drug addict. Five robberies, nobody was injured. He stole about $535, total, combined. Guess what his sentence in Virginia was, Kojo?

  • 12:38:36

    NNAMDIMore than 20 years, I'm sure.

  • 12:38:38

    MCAULIFFEHow about two life sentences, plus 130 years? I could sit here all day and give you these instances. My point is, politicians and people have got to lean in. They've got to quick talking. Now, listen, I leaned in. You know, I restored more felon rights than any governor in American history. I banned the box. I took the Confederate flag off our license plate. Politicians have got to do stuff. Quit talking.

  • 12:39:00

    NNAMDIThis book goes beyond your recollections of that day and its aftermath. You included the voices of a number of people whose lives were changed by the events in Charlottesville. What drives the narrative in this book for you, and how did you settle on the perspectives that you decided to highlight?

  • 12:39:18

    MCAULIFFESo, it was interesting. A lot of issues around Charlottesville as governor. I couldn't deal with thinking about writing a book. I obviously was busy being governor. But once I finished up being governor, as you know, I went on a nationwide tour. I went to 25 states last year, Kojo, campaigning for governors, for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, up and down the ballot. Everywhere I went, people asked me about Charlottesville. What happened. How did it happen?

  • 12:39:44

    MCAULIFFEAnd I really thought about it, and I said, you know, maybe no one's really put the whole piece in perspective. A lot of people thought these were Virginians that day. Well, they came from 35 states. They weren't Virginians. And the whole issue of we're not doing enough about racism in the country, people talk about it, I didn't want Charlottesville to be forgotten. Just like, you know, we had these major incidences, like 12 people killed in Virginia Beach. A week later, Kojo, nobody's talking about it. We've got El Paso and Dayton this weekend.

  • 12:40:13

    MCAULIFFEWe can't let people forget. And what I tried to do with the book is -- I think people will find it interesting, the lead-up -- but I talk about the history in Virginia, running for office, as someone from New York running in a Southern state, and the things that I had to deal with.

  • 12:40:29

    NNAMDIWe'll talk a little bit more about that in a second, but at a book-signing event at Politics and Prose bookstore last week, your talk was disrupted by survivors of the Charlottesville car attack who took issue with your decision to donate proceeds from the book to Virginia State Police Association Fund. They did not agree with your positive characterization of police actions that day. Why did you decide to donate proceeds to police, and how do you respond to those survivors and families?

  • 12:40:54

    MCAULIFFEWell, first of all, I'm donating all the proceeds. Number one, I put the Heather Heyer Foundation down. Heather Heyer's a 32-year-old woman who lost her life. In addition, I put for the State Police Association, for families who have lost loved ones while you're in the line of duty. And I will always step up for law enforcement families who have lost -- these folks put their uniforms on every day, Kojo, to keep us safe. And I will stand with them every single day.

  • 12:41:24

    MCAULIFFEAnd I said, listen, I'd be glad to help -- but it's interesting. I got a call today. I want to check out -- you know, we just -- before any checks, and it's going to be a while until the book proceeds even come in, but, you know, I wanted to make sure where we were and who gets money. You know, the foundation that was set up by the City of Charlottesville, the CACF Foundation, they informed me today that all claims have been paid, and that they actually have a surplus. So, I don't know. Something's going on. I got to figure it out, but, listen, I'll help anybody. You know me, I'll lean in. If there's people out there today that were affected and need help, boy, I'm in there. I'm going to help you all I can.

  • 12:41:57

    NNAMDIBrian in Florida says he was out there that day. Brian, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:42:02

    BRIANHey, Kojo. Thank you for taking my call. As you mentioned, my name is Brian. I was a part of the clergy contention at Charlottesville on August 12th. And I just kind of want to follow up on the points that you were making. Governor Terry McAuliffe could have taken his experience of August 12th and made concrete policy change that would've made an actual impact on Charlottesville, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the rest of the country.

  • 12:42:23

    NNAMDI(overlapping) What kind of policy change are you talking about?

  • 12:42:27

    BRIANHe could've rooted out police officers who have ties to white supremacist groups. He could've allocated additional funds to survivors, so they don't go broke paying medical bills. He could've leaned on the legislature to change laws that prevent local municipalities from removing racist Confederate statues. But, instead, he wrote this book, seeking to parlay his book tour into a national brand for himself. Will Mr. McAuliffe commit to meeting with survivors and donating his book advance to their ongoing medical needs?

  • 12:42:52

    NNAMDIGovernor McAuliffe?

  • 12:42:53

    MCAULIFFEWell, I've just addressed this, so I would like them to get in charge of the CACF, which was the foundation that was set up. Dave Matthews did a concert to pay the medical bills. And they say that all medical bills have been paid. So, clearly, get with the CACF. They told me today they have a surplus, and they're about to donate it to a reconciliation, some type of effort. So, I would tell this caller, if they've got medical bills -- but if there are people out there who were -- I'd love to help, love to do whatever I can, and I've said this from day one.

  • 12:43:25

    NNAMDIOthers have criticized you for blaming everyone but your own office in this book. An independent investigation cited issues at both the state and local level, including lack of planning, poor communication, and a law enforcement plan that prioritized officer safety over public safety. Could you have better anticipated and responded to the events in Charlottesville as governor of Virginia at that time?

  • 12:43:45

    MCAULIFFEWell, we clearly go through everything that we had prepared. The book does it, if you've read it, Kojo, ad nauseum. We tried -- the City of Charlottesville, we tried to tell them. I called them. In fact, the memo that was put together to inform the city. We had known for several months, through the Fusion Center, we had embedded undercover state police operatives. We had been monitoring, with the DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the websites. These folks were being told to be armed and to come and hurt people. We knew that, and we passed that information on.

  • 12:44:19

    MCAULIFFEIn fact, you know, I'd seen the former mayor -- who actually was thrown out of his office -- he had said on “Frontline” last year that the state hadn't told him anything, and he didn't find it credible. Well, that's why I put all that information in there. Our state police went down. And the unique thing for Virginia is we were there in a support role, Kojo. We don't run it. The city runs it. We take orders from the chief of police. That's what you call chain of command, because this was a city incident.

  • 12:44:47

    MCAULIFFEI'd committed the National Guard. They were, the first time, committed in dozens of years to go down. I had close to a thousand state police officers there. And I declared a state of emergency about 11:20. That was not my role. I should've been the city's role, but my secretary of public safety, Brian Moran, had called me and said it's -- remember, the rally, Kojo, wasn't supposed to start until noon. But about 11:15, he said, you know, the fights are going on. It's untenable. The city had worked out with the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis that they would come in one entrance. Well, guess what? They came in every entrance, and chaos ensued.

  • 12:45:21

    MCAULIFFESo, at that point, I declared the state of emergency. They went in, told them they have 11 minutes to clear the park. They cleared the park in 11 minutes. So, at about 11:50, even before the rally was supposed to start, everything was cleared. There was no damage. There had been skirmishes and fights, but no serious injuries. And we really thought we were in good shape, at this point. And then, of course, as you know, this gentleman, James Fields, weaponized his car, rode it into the people right in the middle of downtown Charlottesville. Thirty-five people injured. And Heather Heyer, 32-year-old Heather was killed.

  • 12:45:56

    MCAULIFFEAnd then the state police surveillance helicopter crashed, so we lost two state police officers who were there doing surveillance, and actually saw James Fields' car. And they're the ones who tracked him and used it as evidence, and lost their lives.

  • 12:46:10

    NNAMDIBefore we go to break, I want to go to Braydon in Sterling, Virginia. Braydon, your turn.

  • 12:46:14

    BRAYDONHello. You mentioned in the book that the protestors in Charlottesville who used to cover their faces to protect their identity, felt comfortable enough to march without hoods in a public forum. Does them committing these acts without hoods offer commentary on American society today?

  • 12:46:32

    NNAMDIThe fact that they were able to show up in Charlottesville without hoods, does that offer any kind of commentary about what's going on in American society today?

  • 12:46:40

    MCAULIFFEOh, yeah. I think that's a very valid point, and I address this. They used to wear hoods, and they used to do it at night. And this was the shocking part. In fact, you know, books about racism and how we got here in this country, but how do people feel comfortable that they no longer have to wear hoods and scream, as I say, the most vial things against fellow human beings, that they feel comfortable. I put a lot of it -- as I say, I don't blame the president for specific acts, but, Kojo, I do blame him for the culture that he has created, that people feel it's comfortable.

  • 12:47:12

    MCAULIFFEDavid Duke, that day, said we're fulfilling Donald Trump's wishes. You know, Kestler, and all the other folks there, this was all part of the Trump agenda, that they had said. So, they felt empowered by the president in the things that he had said why they thought they could go do what they had to do. But the good news is, most of them -- this event in Charlottesville really hurt their effort, the white supremacist and the Neo-Nazi. Many of them were indicted and convicted. Many of the counter-protestors took pictures of these folks and put them up, you know, on social media. A lot of them lost their jobs, like the guy at the hot dog stand in Berkley.

  • 12:47:50

    MCAULIFFESo -- and then they tried to do a one-year reunion in Washington, if you remember, and, I don't know, 20 people showed up. And Kestler was in his father's bedroom, and his father kicked him out of the bedroom. I mean, this thing has collapsed. But it hasn't collapsed with this domestic terrorism to the point that you see what happened in El Paso. There are people still listening to the president. I don't know if they could get a big crowd again like they did in Charlottesville. I think the movement was hurt, but you've got these folks out there at home, sitting there reading this stuff, going and buying weapons and coming out and wanting to hurt people.

  • 12:48:21

    NNAMDI(overlapping) Got to take a short break. Our guest is Terry McAuliffe, former governor of Virginia. His new book is called "Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism." I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:49:28

    NNAMDIWelcome back. We're talking with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe about his new book. It's called "Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism." Governor McAuliffe, the Confederacy -- in celebrating it and memorializing it -- have a long history in Virginia and throughout the South. In fact, Virginia has nearly 400 Confederate statues throughout the state. Does that history still have a place in Virginia?

  • 12:49:51

    MCAULIFFEYeah, and I make that point. You think of the Revolutionary War, Kojo, which started in Virginia, with Patrick Henry's give-me-liberty-give-me-death speech at St. John's Church. It ended in Virginia, at the Battle of Yorktown. We have a couple statues to the Revolutionary War, a handful to World War I, a handful to World War II, and 358 to the Confederate War. And the amazing thing is a lot of those statues, Kojo, they were built during massive resistance. This had nothing to do with the Civil War.

  • 12:50:22

    MCAULIFFEAnd that's the point I try to make. You know, in Virginia, it's very unique. Cities can't take the monuments down, if they want to. The state totally controls it, and you'll never get it through this existing Republic legislature. They want to keep the authority. You know, I did what I could do with executive authority. I took the Confederate flag off of the license plates. You couldn't have it on your license plate.

  • 12:50:46

    MCAULIFFEBut we need to change the law. And I do think, this year, we'll get control of both chambers, the Democrats. And what they ought to do is pass legislation, the governor will sign it, that says if a local jurisdiction wants to take down a statue, that they ought to have the right to do it. It's their city, their county, they ought to make decisions. But they're presently prohibited from that, today.

  • 12:51:05

    NNAMDILet's talk about...

  • 12:51:06

    MCAULIFFEAnd there's a lot of museums and cemeteries where these statues would look right.

  • 12:51:10

    NNAMDILet's talk about the politics for a second, because the black-face scandal that rocked Virginia earlier this year put this culture that we're talking about into a national spotlight. At the time, you called for Governor Northam to step down when the scandal broke. Are you disappointed with how he handled the situation?

  • 12:51:25

    MCAULIFFEWell, yeah. Early on, when he came out Friday night and said he was in the photo and didn't know which one, to me, I was very disappointed. The next day, he came out and said he wasn't in the photo. I wish I had heard that Friday night, but that's not what I heard. But, listen, we've got to move forward. I think this is an opportunity for Ralph, with the upcoming budget that he's going to present.

  • 12:51:45

    MCAULIFFEAs I talk about in the book, I mean, we've got to do something about education.

  • 12:51:48

    NNAMDIWell, let's compare him to you, in terms of politics. Campaign finance records released last month showed that Governor Northam has raised only $300,000 since April, which is far less than the millions you raised during the same period, when you were in office. How much of a hurdle is fundraising going to be, here?

  • 12:52:07

    MCAULIFFEWell, you know, he's busy being governor down in Richmond. I have stepped up to the plate. I have done 58 events, I think, in the last couple weeks. I'm doing every House delegate and Senate candidate in the state. I have already raised, I believe, millions of dollars. So, we'll be fine. This is an opportunity, first time in 26 years, Kojo, we could have the House, the Senate and the governorship.

  • 12:52:26

    NNAMDIHow confident are you that that's going to happen?

  • 12:52:29

    MCAULIFFEI'm very confident. I think the House, or the Senate, is in great shape. We've got a real fighting chance. We need a seat in the House, but we got a lot of seats in play. You know what it's going to depend on? It's turnout. There's no statewides on the ballot, but we've got a new map. We've got energy behind us. They got Donald Trump in the White House, and we ought to be able to do it. But once we do it, Kojo, we can get universal background checks, all the things I mentioned, closing the gun show loophole, raising the minimum wage, giving local jurisdictions authority over the Confederate monument. This will all pass our first section next January, which is exciting.

  • 12:53:03

    NNAMDIOnto Ron in Manassas. Ron, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:53:08

    RONHi, Governor McAuliffe. How are you today?

  • 12:53:09

    MCAULIFFEHello, Ron.

  • 12:53:11

    RONHey, just finished up the book. Really good, thought-provoking read. And I'm sure it was not easy, you know, outside of just the day being a very difficult day for everybody involved. I'm sure it wasn't easy to write the book from a, you know, how did we get, you know, what happened, and then where-do-we-go-from-here point of view, which you took in the book. But what was the most challenging part of writing the book for you?

  • 12:53:38

    MCAULIFFEGood question, Ron. One was to relive that very painful day that we all went through. As I mentioned on Saturday, Heather Heyer was killed, and then two state police officers -- who were very close to me. One had been my pilot, and the other had been part of my executive protection unit, who had spent a tremendous time with my family. That they'd gone down, and they were killed that day.

  • 12:54:05

    MCAULIFFEAnd I was informed of that about five minutes before I had to go out and address the nation. Donald Trump failed that day, Ron. He did not do what people needed him to do. I knew I had to step up. I told these folks to go home, to get the heck out of Virginia, to get the heck out of America. I said, they're not patriots. They're a bunch of cowards.

  • 12:54:25

    MCAULIFFEBut the worst part was reliving it, having to talk to everyone. I spent a lot of time talking to Susan Bro, who was Heather Heyer's mother. She's in the book a lot. I spent a lot of time talking with John Lewis, who actually called me the Monday after my Monday morning -- or Saturday morning speech. And for John Lewis to say, Governor, I saw you. It brought tears to my eyes. You said what had to be said. I mean, coming from someone like John Lewis, and all he has been through.

  • 12:54:53

    MCAULIFFEBut, you know, getting everybody to relive that horrible day. And I'm still rather shocked that people think they can say the things they said, happily walking down the streets with shields with swastikas, praising Adolph Hitler. And we haven't even mentioned Friday night, where hundreds of people came onto the grounds of the University of Virginia at 9:00 at night, all of them carrying torches, screaming “Jews, you will not replace us.” It was a scene from 1933, 1934 Nazi Germany. I mean, how do you feel -- how did we get to a place -- you were not born like this.

  • 12:55:33

    NNAMDIThis book is, in many ways, a call to action. Here is Alessandro in Manassas. Alessandro, your turn.

  • 12:55:40

    ALESSANDROHey, Governor McAuliffe. What are the best ways that we can combat white supremacy by using just the powers of state and federal government to provoke change?

  • 12:55:54

    MCAULIFFEWell, that's a good question. So, the last chapter deals with “where do we go from here”. And we thought long and hard. And go back to the point, you're not born this way. You are not born a hater. You are not born a racist. You are not born a Neo-Nazi, loving of Nazi culture. It happens. And we have to do a better job at home.

  • 12:56:12

    MCAULIFFEBut a big part of the book is we have to do better in our education system, beginning in K through 6th grade. We have to begin to teach, early on, how one deals with one another, how we learn to love and respect everyone, no matter the color of our skin, the religion we follow or whom we love. That has to be done earlier in life. We have to change our criminal justice system. These minimum mandatory sentences are disproportionally affecting the African American community. It is just plain not fair.

  • 12:56:44

    MCAULIFFEBut until we have equity in schools -- to me, this is the biggest thing -- where every child -- now, I dealt, worked hard to put more money for schools in Petersburg and Richmond and Northrop. We have schools where the heating doesn't work, cooling doesn't work, sometimes. If it rains, water may come in. The teachers sometimes are not the same quality. Until we fix that issue, then we are still stuck with racism, because these children are not going to be given the same opportunities.

  • 12:57:11

    MCAULIFFEMy wife led the effort to make sure that every child in a Virginia school gets a healthy breakfast. We did 13 million more breakfasts our last year in office. We've just got to lean in on these issues. And what do you need to do? People need to vote. And, as you know, all those folks who didn't vote last time, 69, 72 million people who stayed home in the last election -- excuse me, 92 million -- did not vote, and Donald Trump won three states by a total of 77,000 votes. You got to vote. Do something.

  • 12:57:40

    NNAMDIAlmost out of time. There was much anticipation that you might throw your hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination in this presidential election. But you have chosen to focus your energies on helping the Democrats in Virginia. Why did you decide to make that commitment? You don't want to be up on stage with those 200,000 other people?

  • 12:57:58

    MCAULIFFEI did. I was dying to be on stage. I thought we had a good message. I remind you, I inherited a big deficit, 2.4, when I walked in office. Left the biggest surplus in the history of the state, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, biggest investment in K-12 in Virginia history. We reformed our criminal justice system. We leaned in on healthcare and billions more to fix our roads.

  • 12:58:18

    NNAMDINow you're sounding like a presidential candidate.

  • 12:58:20

    MCAULIFFEIt was a good message. But you know what? Virginia needed my help this year. As you know, I had a record 120 vetoes. The anti-women, anti-gay -- I can go through the whole list -- I stopped all that. Now we can be proactive. We can set up Virginia this year for decades to come, because redistricting will be in 2021. The folks elected this year, Kojo, will draw those lines. We need to raise the minimum wage here in Virginia. We're $7.25. I mean, there's so many things we can do.

  • 12:58:47

    MCAULIFFESo, at the end of the day, did I want to join 25 others and hope you can get your message out, or come back home and make an impact? And I'm killing myself, as I said. I've been out, I've done almost 60 events in the last couple weeks, and we're helping them do it. This is our shot here, and we can take Virginia to the next level. We can actually help people. We can lower prescription drug prices. How's that?

  • 12:59:07

    NNAMDIThat's how he rose. He never sleeps. Terry McAuliffe is the former governor of Virginia. His new book is called "Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism." Thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:59:16

    MCAULIFFEThank you. And we just made the cover of Newsweek, which is a time here.

  • 12:59:20

    NNAMDIThis interview with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was produced by Monna Kashfi. And our conversation about inclusiveness and military recruitment on college campuses was produced by Maura Currie. Coming up tomorrow, the music may be saved, after all. We find out what the future looks and sounds like for the National Philharmonic as last-minute fundraising campaigns try to keep the music alive in Montgomery County. Plus the exploring of classical music in the Washington region. That all starts tomorrow, at noon. Until then, thank you for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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