Some of the biggest names in the Democratic Party ganged up Sunday on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a fellow Democrat, urging him to resign his position in the wake of controversy over a 1984 yearbook photo featuring a man in blackface and another dressed as a Ku Klux Klansman.
Twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged Northam to step down, tweeting: “This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign.”
This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign. https://t.co/TjfS3vbcws
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 3, 2019
Clinton was joined by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who himself is a possible candidate for president in 2020, in urging Northam to quit.
“I have come to know Ralph Northam as a good, very decent man,” Holder explained. “I regretfully conclude that he does not now have the ability to effectively govern and effectively stand for the issues – moral and political – that Virginia and the nation must confront. The Governor should resign.
I have come to know Ralph Northam as a good, very decent man. I regretfully conclude that he does not now have the ability to effectively govern and effectively stand for the issues – moral and political – that Virginia and the nation must confront. The Governor should resign.
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) February 2, 2019
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined the chorus calling for Northam’s resignation, though refusing to condemn him.
“Ralph is a good, moral, decent man. And he has made some mistakes in his past. We’ve all made some mistakes,” McAuliffe said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It’s not about Ralph anymore,” McAuliffe added. “It’s about who we are as Virginians and how we move forward. So he’s going to do the right thing. I know in his heart he’s going to do the right thing.”
In a joint statement on Saturday night, Senators Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia said, “We no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign.”
“Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders,” they said. “He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing.”
On Friday, the governor admitted he was one of the two individuals in the 1984 photograph taken while he was in medical school, calling it “clearly racist and offensive.”
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision cost then and now,” he said. “This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today … I recognize it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused.”
But on Saturday, Northam held a news conference in which he claimed he was not in that photo.
He did admit, though, to putting on blackface as he dressed as Michael Jackson for a 1984 talent show.
“I had the shoes. I had a glove. And I used just a little bit of shoe polish to put on my cheeks and the reason I used a very little bit because – I don’t know if anyone’s ever tried that – you cannot get shoe polish off,” Northam said. “I had always liked Michael Jackson. I actually won the contest because I had learned to do the ‘moonwalk.’”
On Sunday, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus told NPR’s Michel Martin on “All Things Considered”:
“The governor has absolutely no credibility. One day he comes out and says, ‘I apologize for the photograph that I was in,’ and the next day, he goes, ‘Well, no actually, it wasn’t me, but I actually did do blackface that same year, but it was because I was imitating Michael Jackson, and I’m sure you see the difference between the two.’ No we don’t.”
Bass added, “The way he has characterized 1984 … 1984 was an exciting year. Jesse Jackson was running for president. Nelson Mandela, we were hoping would be released. There was heightened racial consciousness, and for him to dare say, that during that year, during those times, blackface was common is just an outright lie. So I do not believe the governor has any credibility at all.”
In 2013, Northam also refused to shake hands with E.W. Jackson, a black candidate for lieutenant governor following their televised debate.
Watch Northam refuse to shake hands:
As WND reported earlier last week, Northam catapulted himself into another national controversy, when he said in a radio interview that he supported a Virginia bill allowing babies to die after they were born.
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam explained.
“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
That bill was defeated.
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