A Virginia sheriff confronted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a heated meeting Wednesday, calling out the former governor and asking for a direct answer as to whether he’d support defunding police.
On “Fox & Friends,” Hank Partin, sheriff of Montgomery County, said after a tough few years, he wants to vote for someone who will support law enforcement.
“I was attempting to nail him down on a yes or no,” Partin said. “And I asked him, ‘Can you give us a yes or no?’ And that’s when things went south.”
Partin cited an endorsement McAuliffe had received from the New Virginia Majority, which has ties to defund police movements.
McAuliffe told the room full of police officers, “I’m proud to accept any endorsements. Groups that endorse me – I don’t know everything they do.”
When further pressed on his stance on defunding police, he said, “I won’t even dignify that with an answer.”
Partin noted that the heated response was likely because he has supported McAuliffe’s opponent, Glenn Youngkin.
“He’s angry at me, number one, because I have publicly supported his opponent, who I believe will defend us and defend our commonwealth and keep our community safe. And that’s what all of the sheriffs want to do,” Partin said.
“We don’t need anybody working against us.”
Partin told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade that when McAuliffe accepted the endorsement from the New Virginia Majority, he tweeted, “it’s past time to defund the police” and that he was proud to accept the endorsement.
“He advised me at one point that he accepts endorsements from anyone,” Partin said.
Partin said he and his colleagues are looking for a candidate who will prioritize law enforcement.
“Sheriffs and police chiefs and our state police partners – we’re all doing everything we can, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to retain the good people that we need and even harder to hire.”
“Things are not getting any better, and we’ve got to start getting some support.”
In an interview in Aug. 2020, McAuliffe said he does not support “defunding the police.”
“I don’t support defunding the police. I’d like to see more money going to the police to deal with community policing activities. I’d like to see more money for mental health. Many of these police officers just don’t have the training to deal with these mental health issues. So, we need to be more community-based,” he said.