Virginia Governor Ralph Northam confirmed on Friday (February 1) he was in a racist yearbook photo, which shows a person dressed in blackface and another in a KKK robe.
Northam, a Democrat, apologized for "the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now." Now though, he’s denying he was actually in the picture and is refusing to step down.
Northam held a press conference Saturday afternoon to attempt to explain himself. At the governor’s mansion, he claims neither person in those costumes were him.
"I believe now and then that I am not either of the people in this photo," Northam said. "This was not me in that picture. That was not Ralph Northam."
Strangely, Northam admitted that he did once dawn blackface to resemble Michael Jackson during a dance contest in 1984.
On the topic of resignation, Northam said quitting would be the easy way out. "I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia," he said. "I could spare myself from the difficult path that lies ahead. I could avoid an honest conversation about harmful actions from my past. I cannot in good conscience chose the path that would be easier for me in an effort to duck my responsibility to reconcile."
Didn’t Northam acknowledge that it *was* him in the photo just yesterday? But today it’s not him and we need to employ facial recognition? Am I missing something?— deray (@deray) February 2, 2019
Governor Northam's past actions are completely antithetical to everything the Democratic Party stands for. Virginians and people across the country deserve better. It's clear that Ralph Northam has lost their trust and his ability to govern.— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 2, 2019
Tomi Lahren- I am horrible!— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) February 2, 2019
Howard Schultz- Hold my coffee!
Ralph Northam- *moonwalking* Hold my shoe polish!
Ann Coulter- Hold my beer!
Brett Kavanaugh- I LOVE BEER! I LOVE BEER *starts crying* and calendars.
Could @GovernorVA possibly have disgraced himself more with his Trumpian performance today? Nonsense, childish denials and focus on himself. After resigning he should crawl back under the rock he came from.— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) February 2, 2019
White male privilege is Ralph Northam refusing to resign after a blackface/KKK photo was found on his yearbook page and instead using a presser to discuss how hard it was to get shoe polish off another time he did blackface and then almost moonwalking until his wife stopped him.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 2, 2019
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus met with Northam on Friday. They say the governor's press conference renewed their belief that he should resign.
"In light of his public admission and apology for his decision to appear in the photo, he has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people he was elected to serve," the caucus said. "Changing his public story today now casts further doubt on his ability to regain that trust."
Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images