Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is facing mounting pressure to resign after a racist photo of him from his yearbook recently surfaced.
On Northam’s page of the yearbook, a photo features two men dressed up in a costume: one is wearing blackface and the other is a KKK member.
Northam reportedly does not remember which costume he was wearing at the time.
After the photo surfaced, Democrat Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called for his resignation, condemning the photo as “racist” and “deeply disturbing.”
“Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated, especially from our leaders – Republican or Democrat,” Warren tweeted late on Friday evening.
“Northam must resign,” she added.
Governor Northam, who just earlier this week made headlines for seemingly justifying post-birth abortion or infanticide, apologized for the photo, Politico reports.
“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,” Northam said. “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.”
Several other Democrats have piled in on the resignation calls, including Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. As Politico reports, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who is a friend of Fairfax, said Virginia officials expect him to quit:
“Northam can’t save himself. It is 1984. It is not 1964. It will make it more difficult to explain how – in medical school in 1984 – he could post this, an image of him as a Klansman or in blackface. That this is an image you chose to present for yourself is a very difficult thing, an impossible thing, to come back from,” Gillum said.
“Gov. Northam called on the resignation of Trump over his remarks about the violence in Charlottesville. How does he go from that a year later to not resigning after having posed as a person in blackface or a member of the KKK?”
Former Democratic Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe also called on Northam, his former lieutenant governor, to resign, saying the situation is “untenable.”
Reuters reports, “Among those calling for him to resign immediately were four recently announced Democratic candidates for president, Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Julian Castro.”
Harris, a first-term senator who is the daughter of a black father from Jamaica and an Indian mother, said on Twitter: “Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government.”
Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, said on Twitter Northam’s “behavior was racist and unconscionable.”
The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reports former FBI Director James Comey, Planned Parenthood, and others are calling for Northam to resign.
“We are still processing what we have seen about the governor but unequivocally say that what has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible, and offensive,” the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said, via Reuters. “We feel complete betrayal.”
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said “there’s no doubt” Northam should resign.
While many people across both political parties are criticizing Northam over the photo, some Democrats are stopping just short of calling for him to step down, Reuters reports.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
The NAACP, a leading civil rights organization, called for Northam to resign. Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus condemned Northam in a stinging statement but stopped short of saying he should step down.
Virginia’s two U.S. senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, criticized Northam but also didn’t call for his resignation, saying that he should reflect on how to move forward.