Sounds like Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is doing everything to keep his job.
After a 1984 photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School went viral, which contained a photograph of two unidentified men, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan costume under a page labeled as his, went viral, the governor apologized. It wasn’t clear which person he was in the photo but now he is saying he wasn’t even in the photo. He also said he has only darkened his skin for a Michael Jackson costume.
According to CNN, Northam said on Saturday, “I believe now and then that I am not either of the people in this photo. This was not me in that picture. That was not Ralph Northam.” He continued, “I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia. I could avoid an honest conversation about harmful actions from my past. I cannot in good conscience choose the path that would be easier for me in an effort to duck my responsibility to reconcile.”
In the bizarre hour-long press conference, he did say he once darkened his skin for a Michael Jackson costume, “I had the shoes, I had a glove, and I used just a little bit of shoe polish to put under my — or on my — cheeks. And the reason I used a very little bit is because, I don’t know if anybody’s ever tried that, but you cannot get shoe polish off…. I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”
On Friday, Northam released a statement, which read, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.”
On Feb. 1, Northam even admitted he was in the photo but did not say if he was the person in blackface or dressed as a member of the KKK, according to the New York Times.
The pressure is on for him to resign. If he does, Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor, will become governor, which would make him Virginia’s first Black governor since 1989.