Virginia Dem gubernatorial hopeful apologizes for likening Trump to 9/11

Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia and former Rep. Tom Perriello speaks with a supporter after a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, on February 8, 2017.

Story highlights

  • Perriello is running for the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial race
  • He apologized for his comment

Washington (CNN)A Democrat running for governor in Virginia is apologizing after he likened the election of President Donald Trump to 9/11 in a video circulating online.

"The election of Donald Trump was a little bit like, you know, a political and constitutional September 11 for us, let's be honest," said former Rep. Tom Perriello at a campaign event in early February, according to video posted by the Washington Free Beacon.
Perriello is one of the Democrats competing to replace Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife, who was elected in 2013 and is limited to one four-year term.
    A Virginia reporter flagged the remark posted by a conservative Virginia site on Twitter, and Perriello said, "I regret the comparison and apologize. Won't do it again."
    Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman who is running for the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nomination, responded, "Tom Perriello's 9/11 comparison is offensive. His calculated outrage is becoming increasingly outrageous."
    Perriello responded, "I apologized for my comment. Still waiting on your apology for supporting Trump's immoral and unconstitutional Muslim ban."
    The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the dustup earlier Wednesday.
    The two candidates have repeatedly sniped at each other on Twitter, and Perriello has made his opposition to the Republican President a major feature of his campaign.
    Representatives from both Perriello and Gillespie's campaigns told CNN they had nothing more to add other than those tweets.
    Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat also running for governor, criticized Perriello's comment as "awful and offensive," while also attacking Trump as an "unmitigated disaster."
    "Those are certainly not the words I would use," Northam said in a statement to CNN. "However, Donald Trump's first month is proof his policies will hurt Virginia's families."