Virginia Gov. Resists Resignation Call Over Blackface Photo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Virginia Governor Meets With Cabinet Amid Pressure to Resign

Posted: Updated:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam consulted with top administration officials Monday about whether he should stay in office or resign amid an uproar over a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.           

Practically all of the state's Democratic establishment - and Republican leaders, too - turned against the 59-year-old Democrat after the picture surfaced of someone in blackface next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.           

The sense of crisis deepened as the official next in line to be governor, Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, denied an uncorroborated allegation of sexual misconduct first reported by a conservative website. Fairfax told reporters that the 2004 encounter with a woman was consensual, and he called the accusation a "smear."           

Northam stayed out of sight as he met with his Cabinet and senior staff, following a meeting the night before with minority officials in his administration. The governor wanted to hear their assessment of whether it is possible for him to stay in office, according to a top administration official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.           

The meetings included frank conversations about the difficulties of governing under such circumstances, the person said.           

The state government was thrown into confusion by the scandal on what was already one of the legislature's busiest days of the session, with the House and Senate each seeking to complete legislation to send to the other chamber.           

Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne said he told Northam that the state cannot afford a prolonged period of uncertainty over his future. Northam's office is in the middle of negotiations with GOP lawmakers over a major tax overhaul and changes to the state budget. The Republican Party controls both houses of the legislature.           

"One way or the other, it needs to be resolved," Layne said.           

The furor over the picture erupted on Friday, when Northam first admitted he was in the picture without saying which costume he was wearing, and apologized. But a day later, he denied he was in the photo, while also acknowledging he once put on blackface to imitate Michael Jackson at a dance contest decades ago.           

The scandal threatens to cripple Northam's ability to govern. In another sign Monday of the challenges he could face if he tries to stay in office, Katherine Rowe, president of the College of William & Mary, canceled an appearance by Northam at an event this Friday because his presence would "fundamentally disrupt the sense of campus unity we aspire to."           

Northam, who is one year into his four-year term, has also lost the support of many declared and potential Democratic presidential candidates.           

The state's Republican House speaker said there is "a rightful hesitation" among lawmakers to seek Northam's impeachment or removal, and they are hoping he steps down instead.           

"Obviously on impeachment, that's a very high standard," Speaker Kirk Cox said. "And so I think that's why I think we have called for the resignation. We hope that's what the governor does. I think that would obviously be less pain for everyone."           

If Northam does resign, Fairfax will become the second African-American governor in Virginia history.           

Referring to the allegation against him, Fairfax said he was not surprised it came at a critical time for the office of governor: "It's at that point that they come out with the attacks and the smears. It is unfortunate. It really is, but it's sadly a part of our politics now."           

The Associated Press is not reporting the details of the accusation because AP has not been able to corroborate it. The Washington Post said Monday that it was approached by the woman in 2017 and carefully investigated but never published a story for lack of any independent evidence. The Post said the woman had not told anyone about it, the account could not be corroborated, Fairfax denied it, and the Post was unable to find other similar allegations against him among people who knew him in college, law school or in politics.           

Northam, a pediatric neurologist who came to politics late in life, spent years courting the black community in the run-up to his 2017 race for governor.           

He recently came under fire from Republicans who have accused him of backing infanticide after he said he supported a bill loosening restrictions on late-term abortions.           

Late last month, Florida's secretary of state resigned after photos from a 2005 Halloween party showed him in blackface while dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim.           

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Burn Ban Lifted for Somerset County

    Burn Ban Lifted for Somerset County

    Monday, October 21 2019 2:11 PM EDT2019-10-21 18:11:23 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 2:11 PM EDT2019-10-21 18:11:23 GMT
    (Photo: MGN Online)(Photo: MGN Online)
    (Photo: MGN Online)(Photo: MGN Online)
    The Somerset County Commissioners have announced that an outdoor burn ban for the county has been lifted, effective Monday, Oct. 21.More
    The Somerset County Commissioners have announced that an outdoor burn ban for the county has been lifted, effective Monday, Oct. 21.More
  • Updated: Companies Reach $260 Million Deal to Settle Opioids Lawsuit

    Updated: Companies Reach $260 Million Deal to Settle Opioids Lawsuit

    Monday, October 21 2019 7:23 AM EDT2019-10-21 11:23:06 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 11:06 AM EDT2019-10-21 15:06:54 GMT
    The nation's three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties over the deadly havoc wreaked by opioids, just hours before the first federal trial over the crisis was about to begin.More
    The nation's three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties over the deadly havoc wreaked by opioids, just hours before the first federal trial over the crisis was about to begin.           More
  • Salisbury Chamber of Commerce Hosts City Council Candidate Forum

    Salisbury Chamber of Commerce Hosts City Council Candidate Forum

    Thursday, October 17 2019 6:16 PM EDT2019-10-17 22:16:29 GMT
    Friday, October 18 2019 7:32 AM EDT2019-10-18 11:32:09 GMT
    November elections are fast approaching. Six city government seats in Salisbury are open for the taking. Five of those seats belong to the city council and the last seat belongs to the mayor.More
    November elections are fast approaching. Six city government seats in Salisbury are open for the taking. Five of those seats belong to the city council and the last seat belongs to the mayor.More
  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Beach Replenishment Begins in Rehoboth Beach

    Beach Replenishment Begins in Rehoboth Beach

    Monday, October 21 2019 4:30 PM EDT2019-10-21 20:30:49 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 4:47 PM EDT2019-10-21 20:47:05 GMT
    Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company moved its equipment onto Deauville Beach Monday morning. More than 400,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped from offshore onto Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.More
    Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company moved its equipment onto Deauville Beach Monday morning. More than 400,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped from offshore onto Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.More
  • Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Monday, October 21 2019 8:09 PM EDT2019-10-22 00:09:50 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 8:11 PM EDT2019-10-22 00:11:39 GMT
    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.
    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.
    DOVER, Del. --- Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover. The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open upMore
    DOVER, Del. --- Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover. The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open upMore
  • Sussex County Considers Lodging Tax for Venues Outside City Limits

    Sussex County Considers Lodging Tax for Venues Outside City Limits

    Monday, October 21 2019 7:00 PM EDT2019-10-21 23:00:33 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 7:00 PM EDT2019-10-21 23:00:33 GMT
    The Sussex County council will consider a lodging tax for hotels, motels and tourists homes in unincorporated areas of the county.More
    The Sussex County council will consider a lodging tax for hotels, motels and tourists homes in unincorporated areas of the county. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Monday, October 21 2019 8:09 PM EDT2019-10-22 00:09:50 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 8:11 PM EDT2019-10-22 00:11:39 GMT
    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.
    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.
    DOVER, Del. --- Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover. The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open upMore
    DOVER, Del. --- Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover. The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open upMore
  • South State Street in Dover Closed Following Sunday Night Structural Damage

    South State Street in Dover Closed Following Sunday Night Structural Damage

    Monday, October 21 2019 12:48 PM EDT2019-10-21 16:48:43 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 1:07 PM EDT2019-10-21 17:07:53 GMT
    The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.
    The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.
    South State Street in Dover remains closed off to traffic after structural damage was discovered at a building in Downtown Dover on Sunday night, according to city officials.More
    South State Street in Dover remains closed off to traffic after structural damage was discovered at a building in Downtown Dover on Sunday night, according to city officials.More
  • Three Men Arrested on Drug Charges During Salisbury Traffic Stop

    Three Men Arrested on Drug Charges During Salisbury Traffic Stop

    Monday, October 21 2019 12:25 AM EDT2019-10-21 04:25:53 GMT
    Monday, October 21 2019 7:40 AM EDT2019-10-21 11:40:05 GMT
    Photo: Maryland State PolicePhoto: Maryland State Police
    Photo: Maryland State PolicePhoto: Maryland State Police
    Maryland State Police arrested three man on drug charges early Sunday morning during a traffic stop.More
    Maryland State Police arrested three man on drug charges early Sunday morning during a traffic stop.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • South State Street in Dover Closed Following Sunday Night Structural Damage

    South State Street in Dover Closed Following Sunday Night Structural Damage

    The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage diThe building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage di
    The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.The building at 304 S. State Street has been condemned by the Dover Fire Marshal following damage discovered Sunday night.

    South State Street in Dover remains closed off to traffic after structural damage was discovered at a building in Downtown Dover on Sunday night, according to city officials.

    More

    South State Street in Dover remains closed off to traffic after structural damage was discovered at a building in Downtown Dover on Sunday night, according to city officials.

    More
  • Beach Replenishment Begins in Rehoboth Beach

    Beach Replenishment Begins in Rehoboth Beach

    Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company moved its equipment onto Deauville Beach Monday morning. More than 400,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped from offshore onto Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funded 65 percent of the $7.21 million project.  Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) funded 35 percent.

    More

    Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company moved its equipment onto Deauville Beach Monday morning. More than 400,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped from offshore onto Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funded 65 percent of the $7.21 million project.  Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) funded 35 percent.

    More
  • Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Barber Says Dover Zoning Laws Too Restrictive

    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.
    Joseph Chilcote.Joseph Chilcote.

    Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover.

    The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open up a shop on South State Street.

    More

    Joseph Chilcote has always wanted to open up a barber shop in Downtown Dover.

    The Wyoming, Del. resident has been a licensed barber for years and sees clients at his home but he recently received an offer from one of his clients to open up a shop on South State Street.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices