United States governor refuses to quit over racist yearbook photo

Saul Bowman
February 3, 2019

Northam became inflamed in controversy on Friday after a medical school yearbook photo emerged showing two individuals in blackface and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) attire on his page.

Northam was an adult while attending Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984.

The yearbook images were first published Friday afternoon by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk reported the image appeared on a page with several other photos of Northam with his name at the top.

Northam had apologised on Friday, saying he was one of the people shown in the photo, which depicted one person in blackface standing next to another in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

He apologized for appearing in a "racist and offensive" costume, but did not specify which of the two men in the photo was him.

Mr Northam said he was not asking for forgiveness for his past actions but for "the opportunity to demonstrate without a shadow of a doubt that the person I was then is not the person I am today".

But Mr Northam appears to have virtually no path forward to remain in office without any institutional support.

On Friday, Northam apologized for appearing in the photo.

I don't think the photo actually endorses the KKK; it seems like a stupid joke more than a political statement.

"Such conduct is unacceptable for any Virginian - whether occurring in the past, present, or future", Spanberger said in a statement.


U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, speaks during a news conference outside of his home, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Booker earlier in the day declared his bid for the presidency with a sweeping call to unite a deeply polarized nation around a "common objective". Even Planned Parenthood called on Northam to resign.

The Democrat was not authorized to speak on the record to detail a private conversation.

Northam made the shocking abortion remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate's earlier remarks supporting a bill relaxing restrictions on late-term abortions. 57th District Delegate Toscano Calls on Northam to Resign:"The yearbook photograph of Governor Ralph Northam that went viral yesterday is outrageously offensive and deeply troubling".

Newport News Sheriff Gabriel Morgan Sr. was among the few to say Northam shouldn't leave for what Morgan described as an "extremely bad decision he made when he was about 24 years old".

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro was the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to call on Northam to resign.

Others said there was no question he should step down.

"Then everything changed", the ally said, as national Democrats unleashed a torrent of calls for his resignation. But now, Northam is telling his advisers and Virginia Democrats that he was not in the photo.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who flipped the 7th District last fall, followed Luria's statement with her own about an hour later calling on the governor to call it quits.

Not only was this false, but the mistake is insulting to Virginia Republicans who remember the 2017 election in which Northam won the governorship.

"It's a matter of relationships and trust".

He also said he is "collecting information" on the photo, and hopes to have more information in the coming days.

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