News & Politics

Bob McDonnell Left a “Wild” Welcoming Gift for Terry McAuliffe

It was all black and brown and covered with hair.

Bob McDonnell's idea of a good time. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who could probably use all the laughs he can get these days, left office by scaring the hell out of his successor.

Newly sworn-in Governor Terry McAuliffe had his first night in the governor’s mansion interrupted Monday morning when an alarm clock set by McDonnell went off at 4 AM. The torment continued later that day when McAuliffe decided to test out the private bathroom attached to the governor’s office.

McAuliffe opened the door to find a massive, taxidermied black bear staring him down. McDonnell reportedly borrowed the stuffed beast from his natural resources secretary, Doug Domenech. The former governor also left a note pinned to the bear, reading “It can get pretty wild in the governor’s mansion.”

McDonnell, who is waiting to find out whether he’ll be indicted for his involvement in a gifts scandal, would know about wild times in the governor’s mansion, be they weekend raids of kitchen equipment or late-night liquor and tampon runs, as the McDonnell family’s former chef, Todd Schneider, recounts in the February issue of Washingtonian.

Pranking an incoming governor is apparently a time-honored tradition in Richmond. McDonnell himself was greeted by cell phones hidden in an elevator shaft by Tim Kaine. Kaine, in turn, entered the governor’s mansion to find a cardboard cut-out of Mark Warner waiting for him in the shower.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.