North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is joining calls for Virginia governor and fellow Democrat Ralph Northam to resign.
In a statement issued yesterday, Cooper referred to a racist photograph that appeared under Northam’s name in his 1984 medical school yearbook. The photo shows two people — one in blackface and another dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Cooper’s statement called the picture “reprehensible” and “deeply disappointing.” The North Carolina governor added: “Resignation is the only way forward” for Northam.
Governor Cooper statement on the Virginia Governor: pic.twitter.com/gHiiEGMyNC
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) February 2, 2019
In a statement Friday, Northam apologized for the photo saying he is “deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in the photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”
My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor. I believe you deserve to hear directly from me. pic.twitter.com/1rSw1oxfrX
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) February 2, 2019
But in a news conference Saturday, he resisted calls to resign and said he doesn’t believe he’s one of the people in the photo, which he called “clearly racist and offensive.” Northam has said that he had painted his face black before in a separate incident, when he participated in a dance contest appearing as Michael Jackson.
But Northam has made clear he won’t step down, saying that he has since grown and “made significant progress in how I approach these issues.”
Cooper is one of many leaders on both sides of the aisle calling for the Virginia governor’s resignation, including the Virginia Democratic and Republican Parties, the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
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