The calls for Governor Northam’s resignation came flying fast and furiously. I don’t believe he received the memo.
Entering the new year, 2019, should have been a good one for the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. The hand-picked successor to former Governor Terry McAuliffe had been pushing through bi-partisan accomplishments in his short time in office.
Then, ending out the month of January, he was giving a routine radio interview when things began derailing for him. In discussing a late-term abortion bill coming before the Virginia General Assembly, instead of simply giving support for the bill, he proceeded to describe a situation where a baby was born and then set aside until a decision could be made as to whether or not to terminate the infant.
There should be no problem moving on from a minor “snafu” on language, right? You would think the answer would be sure, unless you had racist yearbook photos from your past about to surface. The images quickly eclipsed the infanticide comments and calls for Governor Northam to step down came from all sides, swiftly and loudly. The photos in question were from his med school yearbook page including one showing two individuals, one in blackface and one in KKK garb.
Initially, the Governor apologized for the appalling photo but failed to say which of the two he was. Then, after “reflection,” he sort of retracted his apology, stating that he was not in the photo, but did admit to imitating Michael Jackson previously in blackface. His wife had to stop him from moonwalking at the press conference. Not a good look. Northam was justly skewered by the press and late-night hosts, but no matter, we had Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax waiting in the wings for when Northam came to his senses and resigned. Or did we?
In interesting timing, to say the least, Lt. Governor Fairfax found himself in an alleged sexual assault scandal, which he strongly denies and for which there is no corroborating evidence at this point. Not to be outdone, the third person in line for the Governorship, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring now says he too wore blackface in college trying to imitate his favorite rap musicians at a party. So now all three top leaders in Virginia are involved in their own unique crises.
As some might say, this is messed up. Maybe it’s all moot since Governor Northam is refusing to heed the calls for his resignation and may be counting on the next big scandal to take the heat away from him. Something like, oh say, a second woman coming out and accusing Lt. Governor Fairfax of sexual assault. Fairfax says that the latest allegation is “demonstrably” false and is also refusing to resign.
Seems like an awful lot of fuss to not have at least one resignation. And what will all those high-ranking Democrats that have demanded they resign do if they don’t? Maybe learn something about due process? To find out we’ll have to tune in next week for another episode of As the Governorship Turns.