Virginia political turmoil deepens as AG admits to past use of blackface

Democrat Mark Herring attorney general of Virginia

On Wednesday, Herring, who had been urging Northam to step down, admitted wearing blackface to look like a rapper during a party when he was a 19-year-old at the University of Virginia in 1980.

The editorial continued, noting that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's sexual misconduct accusation is not "relevant" to Northam's scandal or his "manifest inability at this point to be an effective governor". She has no political motivations, she added, and is a "proud Democrat". "But it doesn't change the fact that Northam needs to resign".

Justin Fairfax, Trinity '00, was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2017, becoming the second African-American to win a state-wide elected position.

The next person in line after Herring is House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican. He called the controversies a disturbing circumstance. President Trump referred to Northam's interview during his State of the Union speech, where he bashed the embattled governor for stating "he would execute a baby after birth". "We can't go forward unless we do that, and that begins with the resignation of Ralph Northam".

He said that in the days ahead, "honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as Attorney-General".

But then rumours began circulating of another controversial photo, and this time it was Herring who was said to been in "blackface". But he made no mention of any photo.

Political scientist Vanessa Tyson presented details Wednesday of her charges that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

"At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter, nor during the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past 15 years", he said in a statement.

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In a statement Thursday, Scott said only: "Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously". "I think some of it stupidity". "There's just too much flying around", he said.

Black lawmakers' response could set the tone for whether fellow Democrats demand the resignation of the lieutenant-governor and the attorney general.

"He said he was very sorry", Lucas said.

Racial discrimination is more explicit in Virginia, which grapples with a legacy of slavery and white supremacy, but it also exists - in a more subtle form - in Oregon, Brown said.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, accompanied by his wife Pamela Northam announces he will not resign during a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. February 2, 2019.

On Feb. 1 a conservative news outlet discovered a photo of two individuals dressed in racist attire on Governor Northams medical school yearbook page from his graduation year 1984. The announcement did nothing to quell the clamour from his own party for him to resign.

Controversies simultaneously engulfing all three men have raised the improbable scenario of the Democrats suddenly losing the governorship to a Republican without an election. He initially apologized for being in the photo, which showed one man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit and another wearing blackface, but he then denied it was him in the particular photo before admitting he did once wear blackface for a Michael Jackson costume.

"Mr Herring came down hard on Mr Northam when the yearbook photo surfaced, condemning it as "indefensible", profoundly offensive", and "shocking and deeply disappointing". Virginia's Attorney General, Mark Herring, said, "It is no longer possible for Gov. Northam to lead our Commonwealth".

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