A familiar smiling face was seen in Richmond Wednesday for the opening day of the 2017 General Assembly. Former Governor Bob McDonnell, who now lives in Virginia Beach and teaches at Regent University, attended the morning Prayer Breakfast and was later seen in the hallways of the capitol building. As friends greeted him, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s political reporter Graham Moomaw caught up with him:
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell, cleared of corruption charges over the gift scandal that sunk his political career, was spotted enthusiastically making the rounds at the Capitol after attending the pre-session reception of House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and a prayer breakfast.
In a brief interview, McDonnell said he was back to thank former colleagues for “what they did for me during this ordeal.” Asked for his thoughts on the coming session, McDonnell said it’s “a privilege and a blessing to be a Virginian” and both sides want to keep it that way.
“I honestly can say I haven’t followed it that closely,” McDonnell said. “Money is always an issue up here. Money reflects priorities and values.”
The Governor also took time to talk with NBC-4 out of Washington (video). His visit to the Capitol Grounds, the first since his legal case was resolved and he was vindicated by the Supreme Court, brought back many positive memories, he said.
Looking and sounding like the Bob McDonnell so many know and respect, Mr. Jefferson’s capitol is very familiar to him after spending 22 years in public office. Taking the opportunity to reacquaint with friends who welcomed him with open arms, he noted that God had been remarkably good to him, he had learned some tough lessons along the way, and that his visit was a way to reconnect with old friends and thank them for their kindness during those tough times.
It was obvious throughout the McDonnells’ ordeal that he never lost the support of a huge group of friends and colleagues in Virginia and beyond who knew his character and stood by him the entire time. For him to acknowledge that to those friend and colleagues is just another reason why so may like Bob McDonnell.