Virginia governor says he "overreacted" with initial apology for racist photo

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

Virginia's state government seemed to come unglued on February 8 as an embattled Gov. Ralph Northam made it clear he won't resign and the man in line to succeed him was hit with another sexual assault accusation and barraged with demands that he step down, too.

Two women allege Fairfax sexually assaulted them, and both have offered to testify if an impeachment hearing were called against him.

Beyer also said he believes the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault.

In so doing, Northam defied practically the entire Democratic Party, which rose up against him after a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced and he acknowledged wearing blackface in the 1980s.

The governor also said his lieutenant governor would have "no choice" but to step down if the accusations against him turned out to be true.

Throughout the interview, King pressed Northam, a Democrat, on how it was possible that he didn't know that blackface was offensive when he was in college.

Northam's controversial choice of words predictably triggered a new wave of calls for his resignation.

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Gambino also received a number of nominations, including Song of the Year for his work on "This Is America". She said: "I know what it feels like to be on that stage, and I'm going to bring that vibe and energy".

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith released the statement Saturday night on behalf of Meredith Watson after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denied the allegation and called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities to investigate. "Exactly! WTF, Ralph?!? I thought you were "woke" now, having supposedly read "'The Case for Reparations, ' an article in the Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a few chapters of 'Roots, ' by Alex Haley.'" Guess not!

Virginia lawmakers are facing calls to attempt impeachment of the state's second most powerful leader as they struggle to address sexual assault allegations leveled against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

"It's obvious from what happened this week that we still have a lot of work to do", he said. Next in line after Fairfax (should he resign or be removed) would be State Attorney General Mark Herring, who is also at the center of a scandal after admitting that he himself wore blackface in the past.

On Friday, a second woman, Meredith Watson, accused Fairfax of raping her while they were students at Duke in 2000. But he said that reflection has convinced him that, by remaining in office, he can work to resolve them. On Sunday he tweeted out: "African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia!"

The lieutenant governor did not make any public appearances Saturday and released his statement late in the day, after Cox, the Republican House speaker, and the Democratic Party of Virginia joined a chorus of other calls for Fairfax to resign. But the Legislature is swirling with questions about lines of succession and the political fallout for Democrats should the governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general leave office, willingly or not.

Part of the issue may be that Northam is not the only prominent Democrat in Virginia state government to be hit with allegations of misbehavior.

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