- Virginia Republicans and several members of Congress have urged Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after a photo of him in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan costume surfaced online.
- Northam apologised on Twitter, saying he was ready to “do the hard work” of regaining the public’s trust.
Several Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in calling for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam after a photo of him in either blackface or a Klu Klux Klan costume surfaced.
The conservative blog Big League Politics first published the photo that shows a man in blackface and a bow tie standing next to another person in a Klan robe and hood.
Northam confirmed he was in the photo, which appeared in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. He did not specify which person he was.
“I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behaviour caused then and today,” he said in a video posted Friday on Twitter. “But I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.”
Several members of the public were protesting on Saturday outside the Virginia Governor’s mansion.
Meanwhile, members of Congress and political figures on both sides of the aisle have taken to Twitter and released statements calling for Northam, a Democrat, to step down immediately.
Despite nearly universal calls from Democrats for Northam’s resignation, Republicans and independents also chimed in.
Republican Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia
“The racist photo of Governor Northam on his EVMS yearbook page is absolutely disturbing and unacceptable,” Wittman said on Twitter.
“The hateful rhetoric that this photo represents has no place in our Commonwealth, and especially not the Governor’s mansion.”
Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia
As a Virginian & Rep. of Charlottesville, Gov. Northam’s yearbook photos hit more than a nerve,” Riggleman said on Twitter.
“This Virginian demands an explanation. Now. Issues of racial discrimination cannot be taken lightly & this type of behaviour is dangerous & unacceptable in any form.”
Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio
“Very confused by people not calling for Northam’s resignation over his unrepentant support for infanticide this week,” Davidson said on Twitter.
Davidson was referring to Northam’s comments on radio earlier this week on late-term abortion.
He continued, “Neither his hypocritical racism nor infanticide are defensible. One, however, is state-sanctioned murder. Apparently they’re more tolerant of killing babies?”
Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox
“The photo is disturbing and offensive, as unacceptable in 1984 as it is today,” Cox said in a statement on Twitter.
He continued: “While we respect the Governor’s lifetime of service, his ability to lead and govern is permanently impaired and the interests of the Commonwealth necessitate his resignation.”
“Racism has no place in Virginia,” said Jack Wilson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, in a statement.
“These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”
Online personalities Diamond and Silk
The vloggers and outspoken supporters of President Donald Trump did not call for Northam’s resignation.
“Please note: Governor Ralph Northam is a known Democrat,” they said on Twitter.
“The Democrat Party has a history of deep seeded racism. It’s sad that he can’t remember if he was the person in Blackface or the person dressed as the KKK. Americans are not stupid; We know!”
Former Republican Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia
“If this was a Republican, every Democrat in #Virginia would be calling for his resignation ASAP,” Taylor tweeted.
Former FBI director James Comey
“Governor Northam should resign,” Comey, formerly an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said on Twitter. “Our Commonwealth is better than this and deserves better than this.”
Comey, a longtime Republican, distanced himself from the party and cheered the Democratic takeover of the House after the midterm elections as “stirring.”
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