Virginia Gov. Northam Won’t Resign

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Democrat who has spoken with Gov. Ralph Northam has told The Associated Press that the governor now does not believe he was in a racist picture in his 1984 medical yearbook and has no immediate plans to resign.

The official was not authorized to speak on the record to detail a private conversation. The official told the AP on Saturday that Northam plans to address the issue with the public in the afternoon.

Northam is calling Virginia Democrats to try and gain support. Nearly his entire political base has called for him to resign.

Northam’s 1984 yearbook page shows a picture of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood next to different pictures of the governor.

After the picture went public Friday, Northam issued a statement saying he was “sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo.”

But the Democrat who spoke to Northam said that after further reflection the governor said he has no memory of wearing either of the racist costumes and doesn’t believe he is in the picture.

Northam’s efforts do not appear to be successful so far. The Virginia Democratic Party issued a statement demanding Northam’s immediate resignation.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the state House Democratic Caucus and the state Senate Democratic Caucus all called on Northam to resign late Friday, along with several key progressive groups that have been some of the governor’s closest political allies.

The yearbook images were first published Friday afternoon by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics. The Virginian-Pilot later obtained a copy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Northam attended. The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in a full Ku Klux Klan robe.

An Associated Press reporter saw the yearbook page and confirmed its authenticity at the medical school.

The president of Eastern Virginia Medical School apologized on behalf of the school for “past transgressions of your trust.” In a statement on the school’s website , President Richard Homan said the photo “absolutely antithetical” to the school’s principles, morals, and values. He said he would convene a meeting of school leadership to address the issue.

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