Gov. Northam releases statement after his yearbook page shows him in either blackface or KKK robe

Discovery comes days after he was blasted for defending late-term abortion bill

RICHMOND, Va. – A photograph on Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page shows a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe, according to WTKR.  

Northam released this statement on Friday evening:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.  

“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.

“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.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

The photo is from a 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, featuring other casual photos of Northam and the following quote: 

"There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I'll have another beer." 

 The governor graduated from the Norfolk medical school in 1984 after finishing his undergraduate career at Virginia Military Institute. 

The Washington Post says a spokeswoman for the governor did not have an immediate response. 

The photo was found by conservative website Big League Politics just days after the governor was blasted for his support for a bill advocating to remove restrictions on abortion in the Commonwealth. 

The Republican Party of Virginia released this statement after the photo surfaced Friday.

"Racism has no place in Virginia," said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. "These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately."

WTKR gave 10 News permission to use this photo.