WaPo Slaps McAuliffe With 4 'Pinocchios' Over Claim Blaming GOP for Budget Deficit


The Democratic nominee for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, received “four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post after repeatedly making the false claim that Republicans are to blame for the budget deficit he inherited when he previously served as governor.

The Post mentioned three examples where McAuliffe made this claim. One example is when he tweeted, “I inherited the largest budget deficit in the history of the state from the Republicans.”

He also said during an interview on WTOP, “Biggest debt became the biggest surplus.”

In an interview with MSNBC, McAuliffe claimed, “I inherited the largest deficit from the Republicans.”

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The Post’s Glenn Kessler pointed out Politifact knocked McAuliffe for making similar claims in 2015 and 2019. It also called him out for saying it was the biggest budget deficit ever in 2015.

“Let’s divide this in two parts. First, did McAuliffe inherit a budget deficit left behind by Republicans?” Kessler writes.

He continues, “The short answer is no. Virginia requires a balanced budget, so that’s what former governor Bob McDonnell (R) left behind.”

Kessler asks, “So how does McAuliffe claim McDonnell left behind a deficit?”

He explains, “McAuliffe is basing his claim on the fact that the revenue projections in December began to be affected in 2014 by two factors. First, federal spending cuts under the budget deal reached between President Barack Obama and the GOP-led Congress began to pinch businesses in Northern Virginia.”

The fact-checker went on, “Second, there had been a flood of tax revenue in late 2013 because the expiration of certain tax cuts that year led investors to cash in capital gains. That resulted in an unanticipated plunge in state tax revenue in 2014.”

The fact-check reiterated McAuliffe has been claiming he inherited a deficit.

“Instead, he inherited a balanced budget — and then faced a deteriorating financial picture that got worse over time,” Kessler adds.

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He argues McAuliffe could have “touted how he handled a budget gap he faced early in his tenure without pinning the blame on Republicans or making grandiose claims about its size.”

Kessler concluded, “Instead, he chose to double down on claims already fact-checked as false. McAuliffe even repeats a false claim that a previous McAuliffe spokesman had acknowledged was wrong but explained that McAuliffe simply misspoke. So McAuliffe has little excuse to repeat it over and over again.”

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