Later this month, an investigation into the racist photo Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) reportedly appeared in will conclude after two months of the Commonwealth’s political leader dodging questions from reporters and voters, while embarking on a hastily-conceived “racial reconciliation” tour. The racial scandal began just days after Northam doubled down on his support for Delegate Kathy Tran‘s (D-Fairfax) highly controversial late-term abortion bill, even explaining during a radio show a situation wherein the bill would make “infanticide” allowable.
The photo in question depicts two people, one dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and the other in blackface, which appeared on Northam’s 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). He first confirmed that he was in the photo – not saying which one – then backpedaled the day following at a very odd press conference, which included an attempt to moonwalk in front of reporters and his wife, Pam, telling him “inappropriate circumstances.”
Northam has never explained why he first believed he was the person in the photograph, only saying the situation “shock[ed]” him.
Nevertheless, an investigation was ordered by EVMS, which is due to finish later in April, even as Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly have eased off on their calls for his resignation.
In a statement published by the Washington Examiner, former Virginia Attorney General Richard Cullen of the McGuireWoods law firm said, “Our goal is to complete our investigation by the end of April,” adding that, “We are not discussing the current status of our inquiry.”
Originally, Governor Northam stated that he would hire a private detective to investigate the photo, but there has been no confirmation that he did so.
Reportedly, an agreement between EVMS and McGuireWoods states that “an Independent Investigation of the [sic] historic facts and practices related to yearbooks and more broadly the culture at EVMS” would be conducted.
EVMS Chief Communications Officer Vincent Rhodes explained the team “didn’t limit the scope of the investigation nor did we place an arbitrary deadline on the conclusion.” He added, “EVMS pulled the mailing list. Approximately 6,000 emails were sent and 5,000 hard-copy letters mailed to alumni…regarding the investigation.”
While no date has been set on a release of the investigation’s findings, Virginians will soon know more about the origins of the scandal that rocked the Commonwealth in February 2019.