VA GOV Northam On Racist Yearbook Pic

06 February, 2019, 05:28 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Northam

Virginia GOP Speaker Kirk Cox expressed skepticism on Monday that the legislature should try to force Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam out of office, highlighting a potential constitutional impasse the commonwealth could face should Northam decline to step down. Now that same quality may be contributing to what is looking more and more like a spectacular career-ending disaster.

Northam's initial reaction - several hours after the photo became public - was to apologize for being in the photo.

Northam said that is not him in the photo, but he did admit to darkening his face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

Northam's only shot at redemption, if he insists on staying put, is to make amends with the people who voted him into office.

"Northam's appeal to the voters was that he wasn't an ordinary politician".

In fact, the Democrat's stunning about-face - at a freaky news conference at which he admitted putting on blackface decades ago and had to be stopped from doing the moonwalk for reporters by his wife - might have made things worse.

Northam is in an nearly unsustainable position with three years left in his term.

But Northam said on Saturday that his oath of office and personal beliefs - instilled in him at a tradition-bound military academy with a strict honor code - require him to push forward.

In a joint statement released on Saturday night, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as the dean of Virginia's congressional delegation Representative Bobby Scott, said the recent events "have inflicted enormous pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders".

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the man who would replace Northam, took a more diplomatic tone when asked whether Northam should resign. His rapid rise, including a stint as lieutenant governor, was powered more by his biography than political charisma or know-how. "Virginians and people across the country deserve better from their leaders, and it is clear that Ralph Northam has lost their trust and his ability to govern", Perez said in a statement. He also volunteered as medical director of a children's hospice, caring for dying youngsters and their families. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner urged him to resign.


In a second tweet, Mr Trump said Mr Northam's Republican opponent in the 2017 governor election would have won had the photo turned up in their campaign.

Northam, who is one year into his four-year term, again rejected demands that he step down. Northam scored what would normally be two legacy-making victories: expanding Medicaid and landing a new Amazon headquarters with 25,000 new jobs.

"I winced when I saw that", former Gov. Terry McAuliffe said on CNN.

Fairfax, 39, who is in line to succeed Northam and become only the fifth African-American to serve as governor of a US state, dating back to the post-Civil War era of Reconstruction, said he was not sure what Northam's next move would be. "And I regret that", Northam said Saturday.

Northam was caught up in another controversy just two days before the racist photo surfaced, when he defended Democrats' efforts to loosen restrictions on late-term abortions.

The Democratic governor and pediatric neurologist was defending efforts to loosen abortion restrictions during a January 30 radio interview when described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.

In Norfolk, Melissa Brooks was adamant that Northam should resign.

"He is being completely dishonest and disingenuous", Democratic U.S. Representative Karen Bass said on NBC's "Meet the Press".

In his news conference, Northam seemed to suggest that appearing in blackface was an accepted part of the culture in 1984 where he grew up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

But after studying the picture and consulting with classmates, Northam said, "I am convinced that is not my picture".

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