As the trial continues in Richmond with federal prosecutors pursuing questionable charges against former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, it’s important to remember that in this country everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It’s also important to remember we have heard one side of the story up to this point.
An incident with the Governor on Tuesday passed along from reporter Parker Slaybaugh from Richmond’s WRIC TV-8 showed the Bob McDonnell most have known and admired for years. It so impressed Slaybaugh that he wrote about it on his Facebook page:
There’s one thing I wanted to mention about the Bob McDonnell trial today. Every day now for the past 7 days when Bob McDonnell walks out of the courthouse I’ve followed him with a camera and a microphone asking him questions.
I’m sure it’s annoying to him but it’s my job to ask the tough questions each day after court. He usually always answers the question or says “No Comment” but always acknowledges the reporters. We usually follow him from the courthouse doors to the corner of 7th and Broad. I then usually say “Thank you Governor” and then I walk away and he goes on his way.
Today, I have to say Bob McDonnell did something that I’ll never forget and something that really impressed me.
I, just like every other day, followed him to the corner with the camera rolling and asking questions along the way. We then reached the corner and I said, “Thank you Governor” and stared to walk away. However, this time he stopped and turned to myself and the few other media members who were there and said something to the effect of “Thank YOU, I appreciate yall’s professionalism. You all have a job to do and I respect that and I appreciate you all.” He then shook all of our hands and then continued walking.
I personally thought it was very cool of him to say that to the members of the media. He has a lot going on right now and is facing very serious charges and potential jail time, but he took a second to say a few kind words.
Slaybaugh’s comments were a nice, positive respite in the sea of sensationalism that surrounds this trial. On Facebook, he received hundreds of thumbs-ups along with many comments. Here’s a sampling:
“Regardless of all else, McDonnell is an officer and a gentleman. Few will understand that.” Indeed. He retired in 1997 as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.
“Met him at work after we inspected 169 bridges after the Louisa earthquake. Very personable man.”
” He has always been a class act!”
“I met him when he was just a delegate. He treated me with kindness and respect. I’ll never forget it.”
“This shows the former Governor is of good character and deserves the same respect as he has given to others.”
“Bob McDonnell was the best Governor the Commonwealth has seen in quite a while. I hope everyone remembers him in prayer during this time.”
“Bob McDonnell IS a class act!”
” I’ve covered Bob McDonnell since he was the Attorney General. He is truly one of the most sincere politicians I’ve ever met. He always met with reporters and answered every question, no matter how tough or controversial the topic. I can’t pretend to know what all unfolded behind closed doors, but Bob McDonnell will always be well respected by many in the media.” — Tracy Sears Harvey
“Bob McDonnell is a fine man and believe he is innocent in all of this.”
“He’s one of the most decent human beings I have ever met. I am truly sorry for the trouble he is in these days. I have been there to show my support and will be back to show it again.“
There were a few naysayers, as usual — trolls are everywhere. It was courageous of this reporter to express his honest thoughts and for many of the Governor’s supporters to publicly express their support. @BobMcDonnell #standwithbob #prayforvictory