Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe abruptly left a TV news interview Tuesday, telling the reporter he “should have asked better questions.”
Mr. McAuliffe was asked by WJLA 24/7 News about his debate comment regarding parental involvement in school curricula, crime during his previous tenure as governor and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
He left 11 minutes into the interview after the news outlet pressed him about vaccine mandates.
When asked if he supported such mandates in the commonwealth, Mr. McAuliffe replied, “Of course, I do!” He went on to say: “Schools, nurses, doctors — I want every employer to mandate that their employees be required to be vaccinated.”
Mr. McAuliffe previously stated in March that it should be up to businesses to require such a mandate to their employees. When this discrepancy was pointed out to him, he replied, “Well, wait a minute. I can only do what I can legally do. I can do state employees. I can’t mandate, I can be a bully pulpit. I don’t have the legal authority to do that. But clearly, I can for 122,000 state employees.”
Asked whether the state should mandate children be vaccinated for in-school education or team sports participation, the former governor said, “Yeah. If the CDC says these are safe, then you bet. We need to do everything we can to end it.”
He added, “As I say, I worry about a variant coming along that could become vaccine-resistant. If we don’t stop it as fast as we can, I can’t keep schools open.”
Mr. McAuliffe continued about his policy agenda, including his support for paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage before his staffer stopped the interview.
“All right, Nick, we are already over time,” the staffer said.
Mr. McAuliffe added, “All right, we are over. That’s it. That’s it. Hey, I gave you extra time. C’mon man. You should have asked better questions early on. You should have asked questions your viewers care about.”
“Well, we did,” WJLA’s Nick Minock responded.
Mr. McAuliffe also told the outlet he did not misspeak during a Sept. 28 debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin. During that debate, the former governor said: “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
The remark became a defining issue in the campaign, as the education issue in Virginia and across the country has swirled around a power struggle between parents and school boards over how much influence parents should have on curricula.
“No! I was talking about what we need to do, bringing people together. We have the state boards, we have the Board of Education and we have the local school boards who are all involved in this process. But the issue is how do we deliver the world-class education. And the way we do that is invest in it,” Mr. McAuliffe said of his comments about school boards and parents.