Disturbing images surfaced of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wearing either blackface or Klan robe and hood from 34 years ago, which he admitted to in a statement.
The story by midnight Friday was less who is calling for the governor to vacate his office. Rather, it was who isn’t asking the governor to vacate his office. And by Saturday morning, Virginia’s GOP leaders in the House of Delegates had called for Northam to resign.
“The photo is racist and contrary to fundamental American values. I join my colleagues in Virginia calling on Governor Northam to do the right thing so that the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia can heal and move forward.”
Also Saturday morning, Vice President Joe Biden said Northam had “lost all moral authority” should resign.
Indeed, calls for Northam to resign after the pictures were published by the Virginia Pilot and the Virginia GOP have quickly developed into a full chorus with Democrats leading the charge and Republicans right behind them.
Public Figures, Including 2020 Presidential Candidates, Demand Northam Resign
Senator Kamala Harris, also running for president in 2020, tweeted “Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.”
“It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign,” tweeted Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and Democrat running in the 2020 presidential race.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a possible 2020 candidate for president, said, “These racist images are deeply disturbing. Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated, especially from our leaders – Republican or Democrat. Northam must resign.
And another presidential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker, tweeted late Friday night. His refrain the same.
“These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign.”
NAACP president Derrick Johnson made an immediate call for Northam to leave.
“Blackface in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the @NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor @RalphNortham”
Democrats and Republicans politicians and groups also are calling on Northam to resign. As has the editorial board of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The chorus has grown.
“He should, for the good of Virginia, step down from its highest office and allow Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to succeed him.”
Former Virginia Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said Northam is a friend, but added his friend must leave office.
“This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time. The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It’s time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Northam Has Done an About-Face
In a face-to-face meeting, it’s reported that members of the Virginia Black Caucus said Northam could not say if he was in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan hood and robes, as can be seen in the photo from the embattled governor’s college days.
The photos are from Northam’s time at medical school at the Virginia Military Institute. The governor admitted he was in the photo that shows two people in the “racist costumes,” but didn’t say which one he was, the shorter person in KKK uniform or the taller person in blackface.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” the governor wrote.
Despite reports that Northam said he couldn’t remember on Friday which person he was, now, on Saturday morning, Northam is claiming he wasn’t even in the photos and suggested he’d use facial recognition software to prove it.
It’s reported Northam will make a statement at 2:30 p.m. Saturday given he’s “resisting pressure to quit …now says isn’t of him…”