- Associated Press - Friday, January 12, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Outgoing Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told a national television audience he’d knock President Donald Trump to the floor if the president ever tried to intimidate him.

During an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews asked McAuliffe how he would respond if Trump tried to intimidate him during a debate by hovering over him, as he did during the 2016 presidential election with Hillary Clinton, a close friend of McAuliffe’s.

“You’d have to pick him up off the floor,” McAuliffe said.

When Matthews laughed and asked if he meant he would “deck” Trump, McAuliffe answered with a straight face.

“You want to get in my space … you punch me, I’m going to punch you back twice as hard.”

“But if he ever came over and leaned on me and got in my space, that would be the last time Donald Trump ever did that. I promise you that,” he added.

McAuliffe, who was a top Democratic fundraiser before being elected governor in 2013, is set to leave office Saturday. He has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.

McAuliffe has been a vocal critic of Trump, particularly after Trump said “both sides” shared blame after white nationalists and counterprotestors clashed during a deadly rally in Charlottesville in August.

During the “Hardball” interview, McAuliffe also called Trump “an embarrassment to our country.”

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