The 2016 Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) joined other prominent Democrats calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) to resign following the discovery of a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.
Clinton tweeted a link to an Associated Press report that Kaine and fellow Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D.) had told Northam he had to resign and wrote, "This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign."
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Clinton headlined a fundraiser for Northam in his successful run for governor in 2017. Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in a campaign that was racially charged at times.
Northam's political career is in jeopardy following the revelation of an old photo on his yearbook page featuring two people, one in blackface, the other wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume.
This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign. https://t.co/TjfS3vbcws
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 3, 2019
Big League Politics published the photo on Friday and other news outlets confirmed its authenticity, leading to a swift outcry against the governor. Northam released a statement apologizing for the picture that evening. However, in a press conference on Saturday, he claimed he was not in the photo and said it had been published on his Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page by mistake.
He also said at the press conference that he had once darkened his face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance competition, but he refused to resign.
The party's major announced 2020 presidential candidates, including African-American Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.), have also said Northam must step down, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and former Vice President Joe Biden.
In addition to state Republican lawmakers, Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, a key political ally, has also demanded Northam resign from his position, according to the Washington Post.
If he were to step down, he would be replaced by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Fairfax would become only the fourth African-American governor in U.S. history.
The bizarre firestorm caps off the most brutal period of Northam's governorship. He also took heat this week from pro-lifers after defending a state abortion bill, where he appeared to describe a version of infanticide that would be acceptable with the legislation. He later said he was taken out of context.