Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday said he was “deeply sorry” for appearing in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood in a photo featured in his medical school yearbook, calling it “clearly racist and offensive.” The photo, which came to light earlier in the day, showed Mr. Northam and a friend posing…
Gov. Ralph Northamon Friday said he was “deeply sorry” for appearing in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood in a photo featured in his medical school yearbook, calling it “clearly racist and offensive.”
The photo, which came to light earlier in the day, showedMr. Northamand a friend posing with one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan robes and hood.Mr. Northamdidn’t specify which person in the offending photo was him.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Despite the apology, the calls for the Democratic governor to resign began to pile up, including from liberal groups.
The embarrassing photo emerged asMr. Northam, a Democrat, was weathering fierce criticism for his comments in support of a late-term abortion bill in Virginia that he said would allow after-birth abortions.
Mr. Northamsaid the behavior displayed in the photo was “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,” saidMr. Northam.
He said he recognized it would “take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused” and pledged to undertake the effort.
The photograph was featured onMr. Northam’s profile page in a yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he graduated in 1984.
Big League Politics first reported on the disturbing image.
Under the photograph was a quote byMr. Northam: “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”
Jack Wilson, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, has called for him to resign.
“Racism has no place in Virginia,” he said “These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If GovernorNorthamappeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”
The progressive group MoveOn called onMr. Northamto resign.
“If @RalphNortham is one of the two people pictured in the highly disturbing, horrific photo wearing either blackface or a KKK hood – or if he selected or approved of its use on his yearbook page — he should immediately resign. There are no excuses for such a racist display,” the group tweeted.
Democracy for America, the liberal group founded by Howard Dean, also saidMr. Northamhad to go.
“Whether it happened yesterday or thirty-five years ago, the Democratic Party of 2019 has no place for people in positions of power with a history of racist actions.Ralph Northamshould resign from his office immediately,” said DFA Chairman Charles Chamberlain.
More questions arose aboutMr. Northam’s racial attitudes.
In a 1981 yearbook from Virginia Military Institute, “Coonman” was listed as one ofMr. Northam’s nicknames.
The governor did not address the potentially racist moniker in his statement.
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