Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) joined the chorus of leading Democrats in calling for Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) to resign after a photo emerged of him and another individual in blackface and Klu Klux Klan garb.
“This has been a heartbreaking day,” McAuliffe wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. “Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time.”
“The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It’s time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward,” he concluded.
This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) February 2, 2019
Northam apologized Friday for a 1984 yearbook photo of him he described as “clearly racist and offensive,” but declined to address calls for his resignation.
Northam’s statement came after Big League Politics posted an image of an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page apparently dedicated entirely to Northam. The page depicts photos of Northam and one photo of two unidentifiable people dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and blackface.
Northam admitted he was in the offensive photo.
“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,” he 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.
Northam’s statement did not include a response to calls from both Democrats and Republicans that he resign.
Virginia state Sen. Bryce Reeves, a Republican, was among the first politicians condemning the image.
“This has no place in Virginia,” he tweeted. “If this is true, he should resign immediately.”
Taikein Cooper, chairman of the Prince Edward County Democratic Committee, said Northam should resign “immediately.”
Northam “can’t champion racial reconciliation, during the 400-year anniversary of enslaved Americans being brought to Virginia, while being comfortable under the hood and/or blackface,” he said.
The United Press International contributed to this report.