After apologizing to the Commonwealth last night for appearing in racist garb in his medical college yearbook, and the subsequent calls for his resignation, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) is now questioning the photo that was released. He now says he does not believe it was him in the photo, even after confirming it was Friday night.
The photo that was released Friday depicted him dressed either in “blackface” or in a Ku Klux Klan uniform in his medical college yearbook. Shortly after the photo went viral, Governor Northam confirmed that it was him depicted, but would not say which one.
The Virginian-Pilot reported the photo yesterday afternoon from the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.
In the hours following, the governor released a statement:
“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is 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 caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment. I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”
Furthermore, a second photo has surfaced of Northam’s yearbook while at the Virginia Military Institute in the early 1980s. His picture included multiple nicknames, one of which was “Coonman,” a racial epithet.
A protest at the Governor’s Mansion that began Saturday morning is still going on with citizens calling for Northam’s “immediate” resignation.
The Democratic Party of Virginia said on Twitter hours ago, “We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning – we have gotten word he will not do so this morning.”
Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Jack Wilson appeared on CNN Friday night with host Anderson Cooper, stating that Governor Northam “should resign for the good of the Commonwealth.”