Even as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is backtracking from Friday’s apology for appearing in a 1984 yearbook photo featuring someone in black face and another wearing a KKK-style hood and robe, new charges of racism are being leveled against the Democrat, including a racist nickname and refusing to shake hands on television with a black candidate.
Confronted Friday with the image on a page from his medical school yearbook, Northam declined to say which of the two figures was him, but issued an apology.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and do the hurt that decision caused then and now,” 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. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.”
By Saturday afternoon, however, Northam had changed his story, saying he was neither of the two individuals in the controversial image. He also responded to calls – including those by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the Virginia House and Senate Democrats and the Democratic Party of Virginia – that he resign.
“I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia,” he said, adding that resigning would be the easier way out.
Northam did admit to once darkening his face with “a little shoe polish” to resemble Michael Jackson during a 1984 dance contest — the same year as the yearbook photo.
“I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that,” he said.
Northam also dismissed a photo that surfaced from his days at the Virginia Military Institute where his picture appeared with his nicknames, Goose and Coonman. He said his primary nickname was Goose and he only knew two people who called him by the racially offensive term. He denied knowing how he hadearned that name.
Not addressed at Northan’s news conference was his 2013 refusal to shake hands with black lt. gov. candidate E.W. Jackson following their televised debate.
“I offered my hand to him twice,” says Jackson, the Republican nominee, “and he categorically refused, in fact he acted like I was invisible.”
Watch Northam refuse to shake hands:
Jackson is founder and president of STAND (Staying True to America’s National Destiny), a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring Americans together across racial and cultural lines to preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and values. He is also the bishop and senior pastor of The Called Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.
“It has been discovered that Ralph Northam, governor of Virginia, has pictures in black face and a KKK outfit,” Jackson said. “During a campaign for lt. governor of Virginia, he refused to shake my hand after a TV debate. If he had been a conservative and I a black liberal, it would have been national news and he would have been driven from the race. Because he is a leftist like most in the media, it did not even get a mention in the MSM.”
Jackson added, “If the mainstream media had spent as much time investigating Northam as they did investigating me, this information would have been discovered and the outcome of the lt. governor race might have been different. Now we learn this.”
Northam’s current racism troubles are being viewed against his earlier characterization of the GOP and his 2017 gubernatorial opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, as racists.
In that campaign, the Latino Victory Fund ran a controversial television ad against Gillespie showing a man in a black pickup truck sporting a Confederate battle flag, a Don’t Tread on Me license plate and an Ed Gillespie campaign bumper sticker chasing minority children as they ran for their lives
Jackson has called on Northam to resign, rejecting the governor’s now-rescinded apology.
“I’m not buying it. He never apologized to me for refusing to shake my hand. He didn’t apologize to Ed Gillespie for calling him a racist. Northam knew these pictures were out there, and he never acknowledged them or apologized. He’s only sorry for getting caught.”