Virginia governor meets with cabinet amid outcry over racist photo
(Reuters) – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam met with his Cabinet on Monday amid a refrain of calls from fellow Democrats to renounce over closing week’s revelation of a racist photo on his 1984 clinical college yearbook web page.
A couple of dozen protesters collected on the state capitol in Richmond to call for Northam step down whilst the state’s lieutenant governor stated there was once “a lot of uncertainty” within the state’s govt.
A conservative media web page on Friday launched a web page from Northam’s yearbook depicting one individual in blackface status subsequent to a masked individual within the white gowns of the Ku Klux Klan.
He first apologized on Friday and stated he was once one of the most two other folks, then modified his tale Saturday, pronouncing he didn’t seem within the photo however had wearing blackface at some other level that 12 months.
The admission drew speedy calls for for Northam’s resignation from Virginia politicians, the NAACP civil rights staff and nationwide political figures. At least 5 Democratic presidential applicants, together with U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, either one of whom are black, stated Northam had misplaced the ethical authority to steer.
Northam’s place of business didn’t reply to questions on his plans on Monday however native media retailers reported he was once assembly with advisers.
Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who’s black, stated he was once now not positive what Northam’s subsequent transfer can be.
“I believe the governor has to make a decision that’s in the best interest of the commonwealth of Virginia,” Fairfax informed newshounds on the capitol.
Asked if he was once taking making ready for a imaginable elevation to governor, Fairfax answered, “There is a lot of uncertainty right now in our government. But we always have to be ready.”
Should Northam renounce, Fairfax, 39, will be the 2d black governor within the historical past of Virginia, the place his great-great-great grandfather as soon as was once a slave.
Earlier on Monday Fairfax launched a remark denying a imprecise on-line record girl urged he had sexually assaulted her in 2004.
“Tellingly, not one other reputable media outlet has seen fit to air this false claim,” the remark from Fairfax’s place of business stated.
At least two media retailers, together with the Washington Post, stated a girl had approached them greater than a 12 months in the past with the similar allegation. The retailers stated they’d been not able to confirm her declare.
The record of the allegation was once revealed at the identical web page, Big League Politics, that first revealed Northam’s yearbook web page.
Northam stated on Saturday he had donned blackface within the 1980s to painting pop megastar Michael Jackson in a dance festival.
During the Saturday information convention, Northam made light-hearted remarks about how onerous it’s to scrub black shoe polish from one’s face and whether or not he must carry out Jackson’s signature moonwalk dance strikes sooner than the cameras sooner than accepting his spouse’s recommendation to not.
“What happened Saturday was an unfortunate display, and rather tone-deaf to what the impact really is,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, informed MSNBC on Monday.
Reporting by way of Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting by way of Gary Robertson in Richmond and Katharine Jackson in Washington; Editing by way of Scott Malone and Bill Trott