Some Twitter users said the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) was too quick to urge Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign, as a recent poll found that most Virginians are unsure what to make of the sexual assault allegations against him.
On Friday night, the VLBC called on Fairfax, who is African-American, to step down after a second woman came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Fairfax has denied the accusations, saying any sexual encounters with his accusers were consensual. He has declined calls to step down.
Meredith Watson said on Friday that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000. Watson’s claim came less than a week after Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to give him oral sex during the summer of 2004.
“In light of the most recent sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus believes it is best for Lt. Governor Fairfax to step down from his position. We remain steadfast in our conviction that every allegation of sexual assault or misconduct be treated with the utmost seriousness. While we believe that anyone accused of such a grievous and harmful act must receive the due process prescribed by the Constitution, we can’t see it in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Lieutenant Governor to remain in his role,” the VLBC tweeted.
However, most Virginians were not there just yet, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll that was released on Saturday. The poll, which was taken before the second accuser came forward, found that 65 percent of those asked didn’t know enough to judge Fairfax’s denial of the first accusation.
That poll could explain many of the reactions on Twitter to the VLBC’s call for Fairfax to resign.
“Well this right here could possibly f up VA for the Dems in 2020! Why would you ask him to resign BEFORE there’s an investigation?? Black voters do not want to see black politicians get thrown overboard before there’s due process!” @Kujocelyn tweeted.
Other Twitter users want more facts before making a judgment.
@adrikasdream tweeted: “I can’t speak on what is happening here without facts, and though I know the spirit of the intent here, it sure could be a slippery slope… If you force this man out, I hope he’s truly guilty. Becoming Lt. Gov is no small feat. Be sure to keep this same energy for everyone.”
With Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, who are also Democrats, engulfed in blackface scandals, the VLBC was expected on Thursday to craft a statement that will serve as a guide to the state Democratic party for how to deal with the political crisis.
If all three of them resign, a Republican is next in line to take over as governor.