Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s week just went from really, really bad to a full-blown dumpster fire. He made appalling remarks about late-term abortion while commenting on a bill proposed by Democratic House Delegate Kathy Tran that would have essentially legalized abortion up to the point of birth. The bill was rejected, saving Virginia from adopting a similar law that passed in New York that’s just heinous. Abortion extremism was exposed this week, but so was Northam’s apparent problematic past, where he was called “coonman” at the Virginia Military Institute. But the bombshell was an old 1984 yearbook photo from his days at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where two people, one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan garb, are featured on his yearbook page.
The page is real. The Virginian-Pilot confirmed it. It was right there at the school’s library, which the Republicans apparently missed while doing opposition research during the 2017 gubernatorial election. Not even the liberal outlets can defend this, and this isn’t youthful indiscretion; Northam was an adult. In a statement, Northam admitted that he is in the photo [emphasis mine]:
Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.
“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.
“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”
Virginia governor apologizes for "racist and offensive" costume in yearbook photo, says he will work to heal damage. https://t.co/gr9M1KkW3Y— The Associated Press (@AP) February 1, 2019
BREAKING: @RalphNortham confirms the photo from his yearbook is of him and he apologies.— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) February 1, 2019
“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused."
FULL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/kBZaiAAib0
“Racism has no place in Virginia,” said @VA_GOP Chairman Jack Wilson. “These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.” https://t.co/1pFNoc9poK— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) February 1, 2019
The Virginia Military Institute's yearbooks are digitally archived online, for anyone who wants to see this for themselves. This is from 1981 and it is on page 90.https://t.co/vOvHQ9q6Oe https://t.co/RB5MXfBmmq— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 1, 2019
Elected Dems right now when you ask about Ralph Northam pic.twitter.com/5ay7h2pAn6— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 1, 2019
"A photograph on Gov. Ralph Northam (D)’s medical school yearbook page shows a man wearing blackface next to another person in Ku Klux Klan robe."— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 1, 2019
No one should defend this as youthful indiscretion. Northam was an adult when he did this. https://t.co/gdnQKZuKnK
Yet, he didn’t specify which costume he’s referring to in this statement. Is he the man in blackface or wearing the Klan hood? The question that everyone is pondering right now is does Northam resign? We’ll keep you updated.
BONUS: These tweets did not age well.
VA is an inclusive and diverse community—we won't put up with Ed Gillespie's racist rhetoric and fearmongering. https://t.co/WjEnUPBkXS— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) October 11, 2017