Grassroots Organizer Demands Ralph Northam Resign

Grassroots Organizer Demands Ralph Northam Resign

Defying practically the entire Democratic Party, Gov. Ralph Northam told his top staff Friday that he is not going to resign over the racist-photo furor, while a second sexual-assault accusation was leveled against his lieutenant governor, the man who would succeed him if he stepped down.

The origins of blackface date to 19th-century "minstrel" shows in which white performers covered their faces in black grease paint to caricature slaves. Fairfax denied the allegation, and claimed that his encounter with the woman had been consensual.

The Attorney General knows that he made a mistake, telling his supporters that he accepts full responsibility for his actions.

Vanessa Tyson, now a professor at Scripps College in California, alleged that she accompanied Fairfax to his hotel room while attending the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Herring came down hard on Northam when the yearbook photo surfaced, condemning it as "indefensible", and "profoundly offensive".

Almost the entire Virginia Democratic establishment, as well as almost every Democratic presidential hopeful, called on him to resign.

As the top two Virginia officials tried to handle public relations nightmares, Attorney General Mark Herring - who would take over gubernatorial duties if both Northam and Fairfax were to resign - evidently looked at his fellow Democrats and said "hold my beer..."

He said that in the days ahead, "honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as Attorney-General".

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Later in the day, the governor issued a statement to state employees, saying, "You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward - and I plan to do that".

Trump, who has batted away a series of scandals involving himself and members of his administration, predicted the turmoil would help flip Virginia back to voting Republican in 2020. As the scandal spread, some prominent Democrats began taking more restrained positions.

While both sides are now being hit, the controversy kicked off last week when Democrats called for the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam over a racist photograph featured on his personal page in his 1984 medical school yearbook. "I believe this moment can be the first small step to open a discussion about these hard issues", he said.

While almost the entire Democratic establishment rose up against Northam over the past week to demand he resign, party members did not call for immediate resignations over the two latest developments, which threaten to cause a political chain reaction that could make a GOP legislative leader the governor.

Prominent Republican and President of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., has waded into the furor of the unfolding political scandals in Virginia after calling the Democrats at the center of it an "embarrassment" on social media.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fiery speech at historically black Virginia Union University that Northam and Herring must step down over their blackface admissions, and the allegations against Fairfax should be investigated thoroughly.

Northam, whose term runs through 2022, initially said he was in the photograph, but backtracked a day later.

Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas said several people were crying, including men, as Herring apologized to black lawmakers Wednesday morning before issuing his public statement.

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