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Rep. Don Beyer: Democrats Prefer to Keep Blackface-Tainted Mark Herring over ‘Arch-Conservative’

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Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty, Zach Gibson/Getty
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said Democrats have not called on Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) to resign for wearing blackface in college because they do not want him to be replaced by an “arch-conservative.”

A partial transcript is as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: The governor’s a peer of yours. Do you think that the-the time, the place, the context of any of this should be considered in placing judgment on him?

REP. BEYER: Yes it should. And I think that’s one of the differences between Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring. They both made dumb mistakes as young men. Governor Herring though, or Lieutenant Attorney General rather, has been incredibly remorseful, very simple, took it very responsibly. The way our- my- Governor Northam handled the first couple of days was confusing, even bizarre. And he’s also in a different role. The attorney general is- runs the state’s largest law firm, whereas the governor really has to be the role model for more than eight million people.

BRENNAN: You know Attorney General Herring who you just brought up also admitted to having worn blackface at one point. If he resigns, the next in line is a Republican.

REP. BEYER: Yes.

BRENNAN: Cynics would look at this and say the calculus to not be as harsh on the attorney general is influenced by that.

REP. BEYER: Yeah, but I don’t think that’s actually true. There– there are cynics who say this is about the next election. But I think it’s much more about values. We would move from a progressive, very strong attorney general to someone, who is not just a Republican, but someone who is on the arch-conservative end of it. So the way our laws would be administered Virginia would be completely different. This isn’t about party politics, is the messages about the kind of Virginia that we want.

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