mcloudyn.png
Friday August 23rd, 2019 12:43AM

Gov. Northam says he wasn't in racist photo, won't resign

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's insistence that no, on further consideration, that's not him in the racist photo that appeared on his 1984 medical school yearbook page did nothing to quell the clamor from his own party Sunday for him to resign.

In fact, the Democrat's stunning about-face might have made things worse.

Northam on Friday apologized for appearing in a photograph that featured a man in blackface and a second person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. He did not say which costume he was wearing, but in a video he posted on Twitter, he said he could not "undo the harm my behavior caused then and today."

On Saturday, though, the governor reversed course and said he wasn't in the picture after all. Northam said he had not seen the photo before Friday, since he had not bought the yearbook or been involved in its preparation 35 years ago.

"It has taken time for me to make sure that it's not me, but I am convinced, I am convinced that I am not in that picture," he told reporters at the Executive Mansion in Richmond, calling the picture offensive and horrific.

Northam, who is one year into his four-year term, again rejected demands that he step down.

His shifting explanations did little or nothing to sway prominent Democrats calling on him to resign.

Both of Virginia's U.S. senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, joined the dean of Virginia's congressional delegation, Rep. Bobby Scott, in saying in a statement Saturday night that they no longer believe Northam can effectively serve as governor.

On Sunday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told CNN's "State of the Union" that Northam — who served as McAuliffe's lieutenant governor — would eventually resign.

"Ralph will do the right thing for the Commonwealth of Virginia," McAuliffe said. "He's going to do the right thing."

While talking with reporters on Saturday, Northam admitted that he once used shoe polish to blacken his face as part of a Michael Jackson costume for a 1984 dance contest in Texas, when he was in the Army. Northam said he regrets that he didn't understand "the harmful legacy of an action like that."

Asked by a reporter if he could still do Jackson's famous moonwalk, Northam looked at the floor as if thinking about demonstrating it. His wife put a stop to it, telling him, "Inappropriate circumstances."

His refusal to step down could signal a potentially long and bruising fight between Northam and virtually all of the state's Democratic establishment.

Groups calling for his resignation include the Virginia Democratic Party and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Top Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly also urged Northam to resign, as have many declared and potential Democratic presidential candidates.

If Northam does resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would become the second African-American governor in the state's history. In a statement, Fairfax said the state needs leaders who can unite people, but he stopped short of calling for Northam's departure.

Fairfax said he "cannot condone actions" from Northam's past that "suggest a comfort with Virginia's darker history of white supremacy, racial stereotyping and intimidation."

Northam was pushed repeatedly by reporters to explain why he issued an apology if he wasn't in the photograph. He conceded that people might have difficulty believing his shifting statements.

"My first intention ... was to reach out and apologize," he said, adding that he recognized that people would be offended by the photo. But after studying the picture and consulting with classmates, Northam said, "I am convinced that is not my picture."

Walt Broadnax, one of two black students who graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School with Northam, said Saturday that he also didn't buy the 1984 yearbook or see it until decades later.

Broadnax defended his former classmate and said he Northam is not a racist, adding that the school would not have tolerated someone going to a party in blackface.

The yearbook images were first published Friday by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics.

The scars from centuries of racial oppression are still raw in a state that was once home to the capital of the Confederacy. Heated debates about Confederate statues are going on after a deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. A state holiday honoring Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is a perennial source of discontent.

Northam spent years courting the black community in the run-up to his 2017 race for governor run, building relationships that helped him win both the primary and the general election. He is a member of a predominantly black church.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, has recently come under fire from Republicans who have accused him of backing infanticide after he said he supported a bill loosening restrictions on late-term abortions.

In a tweet late Saturday, President Donald Trump called Northam's actions related to the photo and abortion debate "unforgiveable!"

Late last month, Florida's secretary of state resigned after photos from a 2005 Halloween party showed him in blackface while dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim.

____

Associated Press writer Ben Finley contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Gov. Northam says he wasn't in racist photo, won't resign
Virginia's governor vows to remain in office despite widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced on his medical school yearbook page
11:10PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Powerful storm hits Southern California, flooding highways
The second in a string of powerful storms battered California, shutting key highways after water and mud rushed into lanes from bare hillsides in wildfire burn areas where thousands of residents are under evacuation orders
9:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
Virginia's Gov. Northam says that wasn't him in racist photo
Virginia's governor vows to remain in office despite widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced on his medical school yearbook page
8:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
U.S. News
Thompson returns from illness to lead Warriors past Lakers
Klay Thompson returned from a one-game absence with an illness to score 28 points and light up the Lakers for the second time in 13 days, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 115-101 win over a Los Angeles team again missing LeBron James
11:06PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Antetokounmpo leads Bucks past Wizards, 131-115
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 37 points, making all of his season-high 17 free throws in a perfect night at the line for Milwaukee, and had 10 rebounds to help the NBA-leading Bucks rout the Washington Wizards 131-115
10:50PM ( 24 minutes ago )
The Latest: Thousands rally in Spain to support Guaido
Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido says he hopes Pope Francis will soon weigh in on the crisis
9:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
No relaxation for PBS with Democratic House takeover
Even with Democrats in control of the House after two years of a unified government, PBS says it isn't taking its funding for granted
7:39PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Virginia's senators call on Northam to resign
Both of Virginia's U.S. senators say they have called the state's governor, Ralph Northam, to tell him that he must resign after a racist photo was discovered on Northam's page in a 30-year-old medical school yearbook
7:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Racist photo prompts candidates to address issue
Democratic presidential hopefuls are getting their first major test on how they will address racial tensions that have polarized American life
6:16PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Deadly Brazil dam collapse was disaster waiting to happen
Experts say a combination of lax oversight, short-staffing and powerful pro-mining lobby made the collapse of a dam holding mine waste in southeastern Brazil all but destined to happen
3:28PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Virginia governor says he wasn't in racist photo
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is vowing to remain in office despite widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced in his yearbook page from more than 30 years ago
3:02PM ( 8 hours ago )
Virginia Democrat says Northam won't resign
A Virginia Democrat who has spoken with Gov. Ralph Northam has told The Associated Press that the governor now does not believe he was in a racist picture in his 1984 medical yearbook and has no immediate plans to resign
1:43PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Russia to pull plug on nuclear arms pact after US does same
America's top diplomat says the U.S. has formally suspended its obligations under a key nuclear arms treaty with Russia
2:30PM ( 8 hours ago )
Venezuela air force general defects from Maduro government
A Venezuelan air force general has defected from the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and called on his compatriots to participate in Saturday protests against the socialist leader's rule
12:20PM ( 10 hours ago )
Lebanon's new Cabinet vows to face economic challenges
Lebanon's new Cabinet has held its first meeting with the leaders vowing to deal swiftly with the political and economic challenges the country faces
10:51AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Business
Powerful storm hits Southern California, flooding highways
The second in a string of powerful storms battered California, shutting key highways after water and mud rushed into lanes from bare hillsides in wildfire burn areas where thousands of residents are under evacuation orders
9:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
Virginia's Gov. Northam says that wasn't him in racist photo
Virginia's governor vows to remain in office despite widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced on his medical school yearbook page
8:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
Parents of 2 Parkland victims want Pulitzer for local paper
Two parents of children killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last year are pushing for their local newspaper to win the Pulitzer Prize
7:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
New Mexico ceremony marks 'horrible' discovery of bodies
Ten years ago, police in New Mexico began unearthing the remains of 11 women and an unborn child found buried on Albuquerque's West Mesa, marking the start of a massive homicide investigation that remains open
6:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
TSA officer jumps to his death at Orlando airport
An officer from the Transportation Security Administration jumped to his death from a balcony inside Florida's busiest airport Saturday, creating panic that brought some security checkpoints to a halt for hours, grounded flights and caused serious delays
6:35PM ( 4 hours ago )