In a Sunday morning interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told moderator Chuck Todd that he had hoped the grand jury in the Ferguson case would have made a different decision and spoke openly about the 2016 presidential election.
“I wanted to see an indictment,” Patrick said in regards to the grand jury’s Nov. 24 decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in August.
“Look, without knowing all the facts, of course I wanted to see an indictment. And mostly because I think a trial and the transparency of a trial would be good for the community,” Patrick said in his interview. “And because so many of us have the supposition that police officers are not going to be held accountable and not going to have to answer for the shooting of unarmed, young, black teenagers.”
Patrick, the Commonwealth’s first black governor, was appointed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in 1994, and began his first term as Governor of Massachusetts in 2006. He will leave office at the end of his second term in January.
“But the facts and the process, as the president [U.S. President Barack Obama] said, does have to be respected,” he said. “That is separate and apart from the anxiety so many black people have about encounters with law enforcement. The anxiety that some in law enforcement have about their encounters with black people and the startling lack of understanding between the two.”
Throughout his gubernatorial terms, Patrick has focused his attention on moving the Commonwealth forward in its clean energy and sustainability efforts, health care affordability, public education job reform and veteran services.
When asked during the interview about the future of the Democratic Party, Patrick said Election Day 2014 might have shown some of the party’s weaknesses and served as “a bad day for Democrats who don’t stand for anything.”
“When Democrats stand for something, or as I have said in the past, grow a backbone, and stand up for what it is we believe, we win,” Patrick said. “I think it was a huge mistake [for people to stop supporting Obama]… This is a president who’s presided over explosive growth in corporate profits, in stock market returns, employment that’s come back strong after the worst economic collapse in a generation or two.”
Patrick also praised Hillary Clinton, who still has not publicly decided if she will make a run in the 2016 presidential election, but also predicted that voters who would want to see their candidates work hard to ultimately achieve the presidency might perceive her presidency as being “inevitable.”
“I think that the narrative that it’s inevitable is off-putting to regular voters,” Patrick said. “I don’t mean that as a criticism of her. I just think that people lead inevitability as entitlement. And the American people want and ought to want their candidates to sweat for the job. You know, to actually make a case for why they’re the right person at the right time.”
Patrick, the commencement speaker at Boston University’s Class of 2014 graduation, spoke about his plans for once he leaves office, and he said that he does not intend to run in the 2016 election.
“I’ve thought about it, but no, I can’t get ready for 2016,” he said. “This is the first elected office I’ve held. It’s been two really challenging and fun terms where we’ve emerged at leadership nationally and education and health care and veteran services, energy efficiency, economic competitiveness and so on. But I didn’t run for the job to get another job, just to do this job.”