WASHINGTON – The Democratic and Republican leaders of the National Governors Association agreed Wednesday that President Donald Trump should turn away from his charges about voter fraud and focus instead on core issues facing the country.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the association, and Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the vice chairman, both said in a State of the States address that they wanted to work with Trump and members of Congress on bipartisan issues whenever possible.
McAuliffe, closely aligned with Hillary Clinton and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called on Trump to stay focused on the issues facing the nation. He rejected Trump’s unfounded charge that 3 to 5 million illegal voters participated in the 2016 presidential election. “That’s simply not true,” McAuliffe said. What I’m concerned about is let’s not use this to try to deny people their right or ability to vote.” McAuliffe also said he “really [doesn’t] care about the size” of crowd that attended Trump’s inauguration, an issue the president also raised last week.
Sandoval said that issues surrounding the election were no longer important. “To me, it’s over. Let’s get to the job of governing this country,” he said. A former federal district court judge, Sandoval has been governor of Nevada since 2010. He said he was especially interested in new issues surrounding education.
The Nevada governor mentioned an education bill passed by Congress in 2016 that returned much federal authority for school education to the states. “Since then,” Sandoval said, “states have looked to the classroom and local school boards to develop education systems that place students, not the federal government, at the center.”
“It’s critical that states continue to build on that progress and strengthen our nation’s education system,” Sandoval said. “Governors again must be consulted as the new law is implemented.”
McAuliffe also focused on Trump’s agenda at the start of his administration.
“Our new president and Congress face very big challenges on the issues ranging from the economy to healthcare, infrastructure and criminal justice,” McAuliffe said. “As President Trump and leaders of Congress begin their work, we do hope they will follow the example set by the governors; by refusing to let partisan battles interfere with the important work voters hired them to do here in Washington.”
The two governors met with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday and with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, ensuring both officials that all governors want to work effectively with officials in Washington.
“The men and women are ready to work with you in areas of common ground,” said McAuliffe. “And yes, we will stand up respectfully if Washington pursues the wrong course.”