The Latest: Virginia’s governor to focus on racial equity
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on fallout from scandals roiling Virginia’s top officials (all times local):
Virginia’s embattled governor says he wants to spend the remaining three years of his term pursuing racial “equity.”
Gov. Ralph Northam told The Washington Post on Saturday that there is a higher reason for the “horrific” reckoning over a racist photograph that appeared in his medical school yearbook.
The 59-year-old Democrat gave his first interview to the newspaper since the photograph surfaced. The image shows a man in blackface beside someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Northam denies being in the photo. He has admitted to wearing blackface at a 1984 dance party.
Northam has ignored widespread calls to resign. He said his experience puts him in a good position to explore the issue of “white privilege” and to pursue an agenda of racial reconciliation.
The Democratic Party of Virginia is calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign.
Party chairwoman Susan Swecker issued a statement Saturday saying Fairfax can’t serve effectively because two women this week made credible allegations of sexual assault.
The party joins a long list of elected officials and presidential hopefuls who have already called for Fairfax to resign.
Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won’t step down.
Until a week ago, Fairfax was a fast-rising star in the Democratic Party. He is only the second African-American to ever hold statewide office in Virginia.
The calls for Fairfax to resign come as Virginia’s Democratic governor and attorney general are embroiled in scandals involving the past use of blackface .
Virginia’s governor has made his first official public appearance since he denied appearing in a racist yearbook photo and admitted to wearing blackface.
Gov. Ralph Northam was in attendance at Saturday’s funeral for a state trooper killed in a shootout. Northam was not listed as a speaker in the funeral program.
The service in the town of Chilhowie for Lucas B. Dowell was four hours west of the political tumult in Richmond.
Northam has ignored calls to resign for the past week after a racist photo surfaced from his medical school yearbook. He also admitted to wearing blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is facing calls to resign after two women accused him of sexual assault. He has vehemently denied the allegations.
Attorney General Mark Herring also faces heavy criticism after he admitted to wearing blackface in college.
The head of Virginia’s House of Delegates is calling for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement Saturday that Fairfax’s ability to govern has been “permanently impaired” by “multiple, serious credible allegations” of sexual assault made recently by two women.
Earlier this week, a college professor accused Fairfax of assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. A second woman came forward on Friday, accusing Fairfax of rape. Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won’t resign.
The Republican Cox is third in line should Gov. Ralph Northam resign over a racist yearbook photo that surfaced last week. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring – who is also embroiled in a racist controversy – are ahead of Cox.