From abortion to blackface: Northam engulfed in controversy

Ralph Northam

Democratic VA Gov. Ralph Northam Apologizes, Says He'll Stay Put Amid Growing Calls for Resignation Over Blackface Yearbook Photo: WATCH

"I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then and today". "I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo". The denial failed to silence calls for the governor to quit.

"After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign", they said in a joint statement.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor's mansion in Richmond, Virginia, Feb. 2, 2019.

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Former vice president Joe Biden also says Northam needs to step down, tweeting the governor "Has lost all moral authority". "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..."

"I can not in good conscience choose the path that would be easier for me in an effort to duck my responsibility to reconcile", he said.

On Friday, he apologized for the picture, acknowledging he was in the photo without saying which costume he was wearing. Other photos on the page are of a young Northam in a cowboy hat, one of him seated before a convertible, and a formal head shot. He said he did not buy a copy of the 1984 yearbook in which the picture appears, and he was unaware until Friday that the picture was even there. The "memory of that is so vivid", he said, that he would have remembered having been in blackface at a party at the medical school.

"My personal history mirrors that of this Commonwealth", he said. It was historically a red state here in Richmond, it was the capitol of the Confederacy. "We are going to have to commit ourselves to making this right - not just with our words, but with our resources".

Various Democratic presidential candidates also weighed in, including California Sen. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, was my lieutenant governor. Although Northam initially said that he had been in the photograph and apologized for doing so, he later insisted that the picture did not show him and refused to heed calls for his resignation. Later, though, he told friends and lawmakers he didn't think he was in the photo.

After a nationally televised news conference Saturday in which Northam said he was not in the photo but admitted another incident in which he wore blackface to imitate Michael Jackson, Northam told several supporters privately that he would continue to defend his honor.

"What we have learned over the last 24 hours along with all the incidents of the last two years brings front and center the need for this nation to deal with the question of race once and for all", NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in an interview Saturday. He said he had a good experience at the medical school in Norfolk. Abortion opponents accused Northam of supporting infanticide.

Booker wrote on Twitter, "These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they've eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam's ability to lead". Lamont Bagby, D-Va., the chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, said on "This Week" Sunday that he's not ready to discuss potential impeachment, but reiterated his call for Northam to resign.

Northam oversaw a regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting Monday morning that a source inside the meeting described as "solemn".

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One of the few voices backing Northam on Sunday was former Virginia Rep. Jim Moran, a Democrat who served in Congress from 1991 to 2015.

Miller said if people were "offended by everything in this world ... there would be no existence".

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