Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he initially overreacted to a yearbook blackface photo in comments that set off a political crisis engulfing the state’s Democratic leadership.
Northam told “CBS This Morning” in an interview broadcast Monday that he was “in a state of shock” and mistakenly took responsibility for the image of a man in blackface and a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit because he had never seen it before, even though it was on his yearbook page.
But then he said he took another look at the picture and realized that neither man in the picture was him.
He says he’s learned that he needs to better understand what it means to be “born in white privilege.” And he says everything happens for a reason, which is why he plans to dedicate the rest of his tenure as governor to policies aimed at helping his black constituents.
He says he’ll “focus on race and equity” as his “commitment to Virginia” for the next three years.
A Virginia lawmaker is now suggesting he won’t move forward Monday with plans to introduce an impeachment bill seeking the ouster of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
Democratic Del. Patrick Hope had said he wanted to introduce articles of impeachment Monday against Fairfax after two women recently accused the Democrat of sexual assault in the 2000s.
Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.
Hope said on Twitter early Monday that he had circulated a draft of the impeachment action with his colleagues and received what he called “an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback.” Hope now says “additional conversations … need to take place before anything is filed.”
Impeachment was always unlikely to happen during this legislative session, but lawmakers could revisit it later this year if the political crisis continues.
Virginia lawmakers are facing calls to attempt impeachment of the state’s second most powerful leader as they struggle to address sexual assault allegations leveled against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
The push comes as separate revelations of past racist behavior have upended the two other highest positions in state government. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats, have acknowledged they wore blackface in the 1980s. Northam said Sunday that he won’t resign.
Democratic Del. Patrick Hope said he wants to introduce articles of impeachment Monday against Fairfax after two women recently accused the Democrat of sexual assault in the 2000s. Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.