Ex-Gov. McDonnell, who faced corruption charges, weighs in on current situation in Richmond


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Republican Bob McDonnell faced legal trouble for his actions while governor.

His corruption case hit the news shortly after he served his term in 2014. His conviction was eventually unanimiously overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court — and the case wasn’t touched again.    

If anyone knows reconciliation, it’s McDonnell.  

With the mutliple storylines playing out right now in Richmond, WAVY talked with McDonnell about how the current crises are being managed.

More coverage: Commonwealth in Crisis

He watches Democrat Ralph Northam weather a political crisis rooted in racist images from the old south, pictures from his medical school yearbook that came to light nearly 2 weeks ago.  

“I do feel for him, my first reaction when I found out Friday morning, February 1, “Ralph, I’m praying for you.” “I’ve told him to be humble and just let people know who he is.” 

Should he resign from office?

“I don’t think so. He was elected by 10 points by the will of the people.”   

Only days earlier, both Northam and McDonnell led a bipartisan group during a news conference to start Virginians for Reconciliation, to foster better understanding of the state’s racist past during the 400th anniversary of the first slaves to arrive at Fort Monroe.

“Change moves at the speed of trust, and until people can actually trust one another, and talk openly about this, knowing there’s going to be disagreements and knowing there’s going to be a lot of education, that to me is a remarkable opportunity for Virginia in 2019 to lead the nation on this topic,” McDonnell said.  

Watch the full interview with McDonnell:

But for now, the top three leaders in Virginia remain embroiled in public controversy.

Recent polls show a split between those who believe Northam should resign or stay in office.

McDonnell acknowleges the current governor didn’t help himself when he gave two different stories about whether he was in the photo in question.

“Completely inconsistent. Didn’t have all the facts. Probably didn’t get very good advice on what to do. We’re all flawed, we all make mistakes, we all sin, we’re all in need of forgiveness for some of the things we have done.” 

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