Row deepens as Virginia attorney general admits he wore blackface

Saul Bowman
February 10, 2019

The allegation first surfaced obliquely Sunday on the Political Big Leagues website, which two days earlier published the photo from Northam's yearbook of a man in blackface standing beside a masked individual dressed in the hooded robe of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.

Northam initially said he was one of the men in the picture but later flipped, saying he was not in the picture. Later he backtracked, denying that he was either of the men pictured. But he said he once wore blackface when performing as Michael Jackson at a dance competition in 1984. Fairfax, who would be in line to become governor if Northam resigned, said Wednesday that his sexual encounter with Tyson was consensual and questioned why she waited so long to come forward.

Fairfax had always been considered a rising star in the party who drew praise for taking a stand against a ceremony honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee just last month. He insists the encounter with the woman was consensual.

Tyson's statement - along with the fact that she hired the same law firm that represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during Ford's allegations previous year against now Supreme Court Justice Brent Kavanaugh - was a sign to Fairfax and his team that the story wasn't going anywhere.

"He should resign", she said. "She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard". Fairfax has denied the allegations, casting them as a political smear. Ed O'Keefe reports.

In a "Hannity" exclusive, Mulvaney said he watched the Democrats in the House chamber as Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country", and not a single one of them stood up. NBC host Megyn Kelly had her show canceled and was ousted from the network a year ago, after she suggested that wearing blackface is acceptable as part of a costume.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted on Wednesday to also wearing blackface.

While both sides are now being hit, the controversy kicked off last week when Democrats called for the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam over a racist photograph featured on his personal page in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

If all three top Democrats in the line of succession are unable to hold the governor's job, that could result in Democrats losing the Governor's Mansion altogether. To make things potentially more politically complicated, the House of Delegates is split 51-49, after one tied legislative race was awarded to a Republican through a random drawing.

Republican Del. David Yancey was tied with Democrat Shelly Simonds after all votes were counted in the 2017 Virginia election.

Virginia has a lot of work to do in order to right its wrongs, Keel said, noting that it ultimately begins with "elected leaders stepping down when asked [or] when demanded to step down".

If for some reason Cox is unable to serve then the House of Delegates would convene to select a new acting governor, who would nearly certainly also be a Republican.

Some Northam supporters are scrambling to show that the governor still has backing among members of his party.

At a time when U.S. Democrats have become increasingly focused on promoting diversity and rooting out patterns of sexual misconduct in many American institutions, Northam's admission sparked immediate calls for his resignation from fellow Virginia Democrats and national political figures, including at least five 2020 White House candidates.

When pressed by ABC News, aides said they did not know what the congressman did with that information, but that he told Tyson that he agreed to speak with the Washington Post.

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