Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam saw all support from within his own party disappear Friday night and Saturday morning as calls for his resignation came from both state and national Democrats.
As the night wore on Friday, more and more prominent Democrats in Virginia and in Washington announced they wanted Northam to leave the position to which he had been elected in 2017. By the time Saturday morning arrived the embattled governor had literally no support left.
The calls for his resignation had begun as a trickle after he admitted that he had appeared in a racist photo while he was in medical school. But that trickle later turned into a flood as even his closest and most trusted allies called for him to step down.
Those who now want him to resign include his one time partner, former governor Terry McAuliffe (D), Virginia State Senate and House Democrats, Virginia’s legislative Black Caucus and many liberal groups such as MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood.
Demands for his resignation also have now come from many nationally prominent Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas.
Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, tweeted:
“Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the @NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor @RalphNortham.”
Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the @NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor @RalphNortham
— Derrick Johnson (@DerrickNAACP) February 2, 2019
Democrats in the state legislature Virginia had an emergency conference call late Friday night to discuss the Northam situation. They concluded that they will no longer support him. “He will likely resign in the morning,” said one legislator on the call.
If Northam steps down, it will mean Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the second African American elected to statewide office in Virginia, would become governor, serving serving out the rest of Northam’s term until 2021.
The calls for Northam’s resignation after he admitted that he appeared in a picture in his 1984 medical school yearbook showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe.
The photo was shown in a tweet from CNN:
JUST IN: Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam confirms he is one of the individuals in yearbook photo showing one person in blackface and another in KKK hood, apologizes for "racist and offensive" costume https://t.co/3K4VGfP5Mv pic.twitter.com/YoWqInnDAV
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 1, 2019
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.