Regardless of calls from practically each elected Democrat and Republican in Virginia to resign, Governor Ralph Northam (D) says he has determined to stay in workplace. He informed the Washington Publish in an interview this weekend that he plans to spend the remaining three years of his time period specializing in racial fairness and therapeutic.
“It’s apparent from what occurred this week that we nonetheless have a number of work to do. There are nonetheless some very deep wounds in Virginia, and particularly within the space of fairness,” he mentioned.
“There are ongoing inequities to entry to issues like training, well being care, mortgages, capital, entrepreneurship. And so this has been an actual, I feel, an awakening for Virginia. It has actually raised the extent of consciousness for racial points in Virginia. And so we’re able to be taught from our errors.”
Northam has chosen to give attention to these points specifically, in hope of tamping down the furor that erupted Friday earlier than final, when a conservative web site revealed that Northam’s medical faculty yearbook web page contained a photograph of an individual in blackface and one dressed as a Ku Klux Klansman.
Northam initially apologized for showing the photograph, then mentioned he doesn’t consider he’s both particular person within the picture, after which mentioned he had appeared in blackface on a unique event.
Per week in the past it appeared all however sure that Northam must resign due to the revelation. To this point he has ignored a barrage of calls demanding he step apart.
As critical because the controversy is round Northam, the scandal surrounding the official who would change him if he had been to resign — Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s solely black statewide elected official — could also be much more critical. Most of the state’s main Democratic and Republican officers are additionally calling for him to resign over allegations of sexual assault which have been lodged in opposition to him.
Fairfax has denied the claims and issued a press release late Saturday calling for “all acceptable and neutral investigatory authorities, together with the FBI, to analyze totally and completely.” His two accusers, each of whom say the intercourse assaults occurred between 1999 and 2004, have mentioned they might be prepared to testify in opposition to Fairfax at a attainable impeachment trial.
In the meantime, Virginia’s Lawyer Common Mark Herring (D) and Senate Majority Chief Tommy Norment (R) had known as for Northam to resign, after which discovered themselves embroiled in controversies of their very own over blackface.
Herring admitted on Wednesday that he additionally as soon as worse blackface at a university social gathering in 1980 and apologized. On Thursday, the Virginian Pilot revealed that Norment had been managing editor of his personal school yearbook and that it had been loaded with racist photographs, blackface pictures, and racial slurs.
On Saturday, ThinkProgress solely reported that college students in his undergraduate course at William & Mary in recent times recalled racially insensitive feedback had been commonplace. Norment’s solely public response to this point has been to say that he didn’t seem within the racist pictures himself and: “As certainly one of seven engaged on a 359-page yearbook, I can’t endorse or affiliate myself with each photograph, entry, or phrase on every web page.”
A ballot printed by the Washington Publish on Saturday discovered that 47 % of Virginians need Northam to resign and 47 % of Virginians need him to remain. Black Virginians polled mentioned he ought to stay governor by a 58 to 37 margin. About two-thirds mentioned they didn’t know sufficient in regards to the accusations in opposition to Fairfax to resolve on his destiny — although the ballot was taken earlier than a second accuser got here ahead to say he had raped her. Solely a couple of third polled mentioned Herring must also go and the ballot preceded the revelations about Norment.
Whereas Northam’s, Herring’s, and Norment’s earlier racist conduct will not be unlawful, if the allegations in opposition to Fairfax show true, he might be in each authorized and procedural hassle. Police in Massachusetts and North Carolina might nonetheless prosecute Fairfax. And Virginia state Delegate Patrick Hope (D) plans to introduce articles of impeachment in opposition to Fairfax as early as Monday.
Ought to a majority within the Home of Delegates again such a movement, it seems Fairfax might quickly (as president of the state Senate) have the chance to preside over his personal impeachment trial.