Northam Apologizes for ‘Racist and Offensive’ Photo in Med School Yearbook

Chorus is growing louder for the Democrat governor to resign

Image Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia (D)  — already under fire for the chilling comments he made earlier this week about third-trimester abortions — said he was sorry on Friday for appearing in a “racist and offensive” photo published on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

But that may not be good enough. Now there are calls for him to resign his office.

The photo shows one man dressed in blackface — and another in a KKK robe. The Democrat governor admitted he is one of the two people in the picture, but he has not said which costume he was wearing.

Northam gave no signs thus far on Friday — the first day of Black History month — that he plans to resign, though an increasing number of people, both Republicans and Democrats, are calling for him to do so.

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,” Northam said in a statement. He also said, “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.”

Fox News said it obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library. Northam graduated from the school that year, the outlet said.

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The Virginian-Pilot, The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch all reported that they independently confirmed the authenticity of the page, Fox News noted.

The quote on Northam’s page says, “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”

Additionally, CBS News uncovered a page from the same yearbook that had nicknames listed beneath Northam’s name. One of them was “Coonman” — a racial slur.

Jack Wilson, chair of the Republican Party of Virginia, said in a statement, “Racism has no place in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Gov. Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”

Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s leader, called for Northam’s resignation — as did Democratic presidential candidates Julián Castro, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

MoveOn.org, the liberal group, tweeted on the topic, “If @RalphNortham is one of the two people pictured in the highly disturbing, horrific photo wearing either blackface or a KKK hood — or if he selected or approved of its use on his yearbook page — he should immediately resign.”

“Racism has no place in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Gov. Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”

Also in his statement on Friday, Northam said, “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.”

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused,” he also said. “I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their governor.”

Conservative website Big League Politics first posted a picture of Northam’s yearbook page on Friday.

Northam, born in Virginia in 1959, is a former pediatric neurologist. He defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial race.

He shocked pro-life advocates earlier this week when he appeared to defend infanticide.

Related: Huckabee Defends Human Life in Fox News Clash

Northam argued during a radio interview captured on video that third-trimester abortions are done with “the consent of obviously the mother, with consent of the physician, multiple physicians by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities or there may be a fetus that’s not viable.”

“So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen — the infant would be delivered,” Northam told WTOP.

“The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

And check out this video from Friday night’s “The Ingraham Angle”:

This article has been updated with the latest information.

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