Political News

Virginia's new governor takes veiled shots at Trump

Posted January 13, 2018 12:27 p.m. EST

— Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam took some veiled shots at President Donald Trump as he was sworn in as the 73rd governor of the commonwealth Saturday, telling a crowd gathered in Richmond, "You don't have to be loud to lead."

"It can be hard to find our way in a time when there's so much shouting, when nasty, shallow tweets take the place of honest debate, and when scoring political points gets in the way of dealing with real problems," Northam said in his inaugural address.

Northam, who defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in a closely watched race, also said Virginia and the country need a moral compass now more than ever.

On election night, Northam also appeared to call out Trump while not mentioning him by name.

"Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart," he said.

The remarks came after a summer that saw deadly violence erupt at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, spurring Trump to condemn "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" -- remarks widely criticized for seeming to equate the white nationalists with the counterprotesters who showed up at the rally.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist who served as Virginia's lieutenant governor, also touched on the opioid crisis and reforming gun control laws in his Inaugural address. He added that he thinks Virginia and the country are moving in the wrong direction on health care.

"More people need coverage, not less," Northam said in remarks that drew a standing ovation. "It is past time for us to step forward together and expand Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Virginians who need access to care."