Racist 'KKK' Photo Emerges of Virginia's Democrat Governor
Calls for resignation of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam from both sides
During the same week that Virginia's Democrat Governor caused outrage by suggesting that mothers should be able to choose to kill their newborn baby, a racist photo of Gov. Ralph Northam has emerged that features "blackface" and KKK outfits.
Following calls from both Democrats and Republicans, Northam is refusing to resign, despite admitting that he was one of two men who posed for a medical school yearbook photo, one wearing blackface and another in a KKK robe and hood.
Northam confirmed he was in the photo during an apology on Friday, saying that he had appeared in the photo in the 1984 yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School, but vowed to finish serving his full term in office.
He didn't specify which of the two men in the photo was him but apologized for appearing in a "racist and offensive" costume.
Northam graduated from the medical school in Norfolk, Virginia in 1984 and went on to work as a pediatric neurologist before entering politics.
The revelation of the shocking image comes days after Northam sparked national fury among conservatives with comments that seemed to support post-birth abortions.
According to the Daily Mail, the photo appears on a page labeled "Ralph Shearer Northam" alongside other pictures of Northam, including a headshot, a photo of him kneeling in a cowboy hat, and another of him sitting next to a Corvette.
The photo in question depicts two men.
One is wearing back coloring on his hands and face, along with plaid pants and a bowtie, a white Panama hat, and sunglasses.
The other individual is wearing a makeshift white hood and robe in the style of the Ku Klux Klan.
Both men are holding beers.
Under the photo, the text states that Northam's alma mater is the Virginia Military Institute and that his interest is pediatrics.
His quote is given as: "There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I'll have another beer."
The photo was first circulated on Friday afternoon by the conservative news site Big League Politics, which viewed it in the school's library.
Other outlets were able to independently view and confirm the photo.
In another startling revelation, another photo emerged on Friday showing Northam in his 1981 undergraduate yearbook at the Virginia Military Institute.
The entry lists one of Northam's nicknames as "Coonman."
The nickname seemingly refers to the racial epithet, but its meaning is unclear.
My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor. I believe you deserve to hear directly from me. pic.twitter.com/1rSw1oxfrX— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) February 2, 2019
The photos were revealed after Northam, who took office last year, made national headlines earlier in the week with remarks supporting late-term abortion up until labor.
Northam made the shocking abortion remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate's earlier remarks supporting a bill relaxing restrictions on late-term abortions.
The governor described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.
He said that if a woman were to desire an abortion as she's going into labor, the baby would be delivered and then 'resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue' between doctors and the mother.
The remark drew immediate and furious condemnation from prominent conservatives around the country.
President Donald Trump also joined the chorus, without naming Northam, tweeting on Thursday that 'Democrats are becoming the Party of late-term abortion.'
Northam is considered a rising star in the Democrat party, but the revelation of the disturbing 1984 photo threatened to derail aspirations he may have had for higher office.
On Friday, the calls for Northam's resignation came from all quarters.
Republican state Senator Bryce Reeves said in a statement that Northam should resign if the reports of the photos are accurate.
"I hope that this picture is inaccurate and that the Governor brings clarity to this issue. This has no place in Virginia," Reeves said.
The NAACP, along with national president Derrick Johnson, also called for Northam's resignation.
"Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior," Johnson wrote in a tweet.
Kamala Harris, a Democrat senator from California and contender for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, echoed the call.
"Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together," Harris wrote on Twitter.
Senator Cory Booker, who announced his presidential aspirations on Friday, was quick to chime in: "These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign."
These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 2, 2019
Another contender for the Democratic nomination, Julian Castro, joined the call, calling the image of Northam "racist and unconscionable."
Northam's mentor and key ally, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, called for him to resign as well.
"The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It's time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward," McAuliffe said, calling the photo "racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time."
If Northam were to resign, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, who is African-American, would assume the governor's office.
In a statement, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said that "what has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible, and offensive."
The group stopped short of calling for resignation, saying it was "still processing" the revelation.
In a video statement released on Friday night, Northam rejected the calls for his resignation.
"I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term, and living up to the expectations you set for me," Northam said in the direct appeal to voters.
Last week, Florida's Republican secretary of state resigned after photos from a 2005 Halloween party showed him in blackface while dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim.
During his election campaign, Northam repeatedly labeled his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie as "racist."
One campaign commercial, funded by the Latino Victor Fund SuperPAC, depicted a white man in a pickup truck with a Gillespie bumper sticker attempting to run down non-white children.
"VA is an inclusive and diverse community—we won't put up with Ed Gillespie's racist rhetoric and fearmongering," Northam wrote in an October 2017 tweet.