Virginia Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe has a history of challenging elections with attacks he now claims are an abject assault on democracy.
While a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s challenges to the 2020 presidential contest, McAuliffe himself was at the forefront of allegations that the 2000 presidential election was stolen for George W. Bush. In a newly unearthed Feb. 4, 2001 interview on Meet the Press, the former Virginia governor was emphatic in challenging the legitimacy of the 2000 election, even going as far as to accuse the U.S. Supreme Court of tampering with the results.
“At the end of the day, if all the votes were counted in Florida, that Al Gore would be president today,” he said. “The Supreme Court stopped the counting of the votes and if they’d let the count go on, Al Gore would have got the necessary votes.”
The interview was largely based on comments McAuliffe made while speaking at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) organizational meeting, in which the newly elected DNC chair made similar assertions.
“You know this: If Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, Jim Baker and the Supreme Court hadn’t tampered with the results, Al Gore would be president and George Bush would be back in Austin, and John Ashcroft would be home reading Southern Partisan magazine,” he said.
McAuliffe’s conspiracies about the 2000 election would continue for years. During a 2002 interview with Black Entertainment Television, the former DNC chair again attempted to rewrite history.
“We won the campaign,” he said, “we just didn’t get the prize.” He went on to claim to have inside knowledge that “media re-re-recounts of Florida ballots would show within a month that Al Gore had won the state by 25,000 votes.”
Since announcing his candidacy for Virginia’s gubernatorial race in December 2020, McAuliffe has become one among many prominent Democrats to repeatedly attack Trump over his claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Most recently, the former governor criticized his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin for his plans to attend an election integrity rally, accusing the GOP candidate of promoting “Trump’s dangerous lies.”
“Next week, Glenn Youngkin will headline an ‘election integrity’ rally inspired by Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election,” he tweeted. “Glenn, enough is enough. Stop embarrassing Virginia and stop promoting Trump’s dangerous lies. Withdraw from this event.”
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 27, 2021
Glenn Youngkin launched his campaign with an "election integrity" plan based on Trump’s lies about the 2020 election — he's even called it the "most important" issue.
Trump keeps lying, Glenn feeds the fire, and our democracy suffers. Virginia deserves better.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 12, 2021
Trump's Big Lie about voter fraud has been Youngkin's top priority. Just yesterday, Trump put out a statement trying to spread his conspiracy theories to Virginia's election this year.
They're not going to get away with this Big Lie crap in Virginia, I won't let them. https://t.co/mVoDOlBf99
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 13, 2021
The McAuliffe campaign did not return The Federalist’s request for comment.
“If Terry McAuliffe is accusing you of something, he’s probably guilty of it himself,” Youngkin campaign spokesman Christian Martinez told The Federalist. “McAuliffe has talked out of both sides of his mouth throughout his 40 years in politics and has never let the truth get in the way of anything he says.”
“It’s time to leave behind stale old politicians like McAuliffe and elect a new kind of leader in Virginia, someone like Glenn Youngkin who is honest and actually wants to do the job instead of just use it to run for president like McAuliffe,” he added.
Terry McAuliffe repeatedly claimed the 2000 election was stolen. It's on tape.
McAuliffe is still refusing to say the 2000 election was legitimate. pic.twitter.com/qmhvJzyxuZ
— Team Youngkin (@TeamYoungkin) June 25, 2021
In 2004, Terry McAuliffe told a crowd of Democrats, “We actually won the last presidential election, folks. They STOLE the last presidential election.”
Today he refused to say whether he still believes the election was stolen. pic.twitter.com/UImRxe0tEt
— Team Youngkin (@TeamYoungkin) July 28, 2021
Despite his outlandish election allegations, McAuliffe has received a number of endorsements from high-profile Democrats that have regularly attacked Trump over his own election claims. Last week, President Joe Biden appeared alongside the former Virginia governor at a campaign event, notwithstanding his past characterization of Trump’s legal challenges of the 2020 contest as an “assault on democracy.”
Moreover, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has thrown her support behind McAuliffe, stating back in January that “Terry will deliver for Virginia families again” and donating $100,000 to his campaign. During an interview earlier that same month, Pelosi referred to then-President Trump as “unhinged” over his election claims, while simultaneously accusing him of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and advocating for using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
To date, neither Biden or Pelosi have publicly addressed McAuliffe’s false elections claims.