Former MSNBC host confronts Senate GOP candidate for saying people are 'sick' of talking about race
McAuliffe: If Trump got in my space during a debate you'd 'have to pick him up off the floor'
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said Thursday night that if President Trump got in his space during a presidential debate, "you would have to pick him up off the floor."
Speaking on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, McAuliffe suggested he would "deck" the president if he got in his space during a presidential debate, referencing the way he used space during debates against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
"I know Hillary's a friend of yours and she's a strong person, but he did that thing of leaning over her, in that weird Godzilla way during the debate. What would you do in a debate with him if he tried that? What would you do?" Matthews asked.
"You would have to pick him up off the floor," McAuliffe responded.
When Matthews asked if McAuliffe meant he would "deck" Trump, McAuliffe responded: "Listen, this guy got in my space, you want to get in my space, I've always said, Chris, you punch me, I'm going to punch you back twice as hard."
"This guy thinks he can intimidate everybody. It's disgraceful, it's embarrassing," McAuliffe continued. "But I tell you, when we take him on, back in his face with the facts, don't take anything from him and hit him back as hard as you possibly can. But if he ever came over and leaned on me and got in my space, that would be the last time Donald Trump ever did that, I promise you that."
McAuliffe, sources have told The Hill, is "seriously" considering a 2020 presidential bid.
The outgoing governor's term ends this month. Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) is expected to be sworn in this week.
McAuliffe has been a vocal critic of Trump, especially following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesvile, Va., in August that turned violent and resulted in the death of a counterprotester.
He also went after Trump again for the controversial pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in August, calling it a "bad decision."