RICHMOND, Va. – The Republican Party in Virginia is demanding action by Gov. Ralph Northam after a picture from his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook surfaced.
A picture on a page in Northam's medical school yearbook shows a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe.
"Racism has no place in Virginia," said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. "These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Go. Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately."
Republican leaders in Virginia's General Assembly, including Speaker Kirk Cox, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr., House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Ryan T. McDougle issued the following statement:
“This is a deeply disturbing and offensive photograph in need of an immediate explanation by the Governor.”
After Republicans released their statement, Gov. Northam admitted to being one of the two men in the photo and released this statement.
Virginia Senate Pro Tempore Stephen Newman issued this statement:
“As the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of Virginia, I have decided to share my recommendation to Governor Northam with him and his office.
“While not issuing a public statement regarding my counsel to him at this time, I will say that my wife and I have asked God to give our Governor wisdom in the coming hours, and for the health, clarity and resolve to do the right thing for the people of Virginia.
“After this dark hour has passed, the President Pro Tempore must be in a position to serve as a healer, bringing all parties back together to work for a better and stronger Commonwealth.”
Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement Friday:
“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.”