RICHMOND, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - One former Virginia governor is calling on current Governor Ralph Northam to step down after a racist photo featuring two men – one in blackface, the other in a KKK uniform – surfaced on Friday.
Northam has confirmed that he is in the photo from the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School, but has not specified which man he is.
McAuliffe Tweeted, “This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time.”
McAuliffe continued, “The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It's time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward.”
Northam issued a statement apologizing for the photo on Friday, but said he is not resigning.
Former FBI Director James Comey has joined a chorus that includes NAACP President Derrick Johnson as well as McAuliffe in calling on Northam to remove himself.
“Governor Northam should resign. Our Commonwealth is better than this and deserves better than this,” Comey said via Twitter.
Longtime Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott offered a statement also:
“It is never easy to condemn a personal friend, but Governor Northam’s past behavior is indefensible. I know the Governor has dedicated his life to public service, and he has advanced policies to help African Americans and Virginians from all walks of life. I take him at his word that he is deeply sorry, and that he understands that his behavior was inappropriate and offensive. History will have to judge his life and public record, and this chapter will be a major stain on that record. The Governor must now make the right decision that is best for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”