Pelosi: Virginia Scandals Don’t Damage Democratic Party’s National Brand

• February 7, 2019 12:56 pm


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) dismissed the idea that the numerous scandals plaguing Virginia Democrats will have any impact on the party's national brand.

"With everything that's been going on with Virginia, the governor, the attorney general here … does that filter down and damage the national Democratic brand in any way?" Fox News congressional reporter Chad Pergram asked.

"No, it does not," Pelosi responded. "They will resolve — the Virginians will resolve their issues that they have there. It's sad because they have some very talented leaders there, but they have to have the confidence of the electorate and they have to have the confidence of the legislature that they have to work with. But I'll leave that up to them. I have enough to do here without getting involved in the affairs of Virginia."

All three statewide elected Democratic officials in Virginia are in the middle of scandals centered on either wearing blackface or sexual assault accusations.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) started the wave of scandals when a photo surfaced last Friday showing a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood next to a man wearing blackface. The photo was included on a page dedicated to Northam in his Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. Northam apologized for the photo at first, but then during a press conference, denied he was one of the individuals in the photo.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D.) faces a sexual assault allegation. Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California, came forward publicly as the woman accusing Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention. Fairfax has denied the allegation, saying he and the woman were intimate in a consensual way during the convention. Fairfax released a new statement on Wednesday in which he continued to deny the allegation but also stated that women don't make such allegations "lightly." The statement came before NBC reported Fairfax said "fuck that bitch" when talking about Tyson in a private meeting. Fairfax's chief of staff has denied his boss used that language in reference to Tyson.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted Wednesday he wore blackface for a college party back in 1980. He apologized for his actions and called it the "greatest shame" he has ever felt. When Northam's scandal broke days before, Herring called on the governor to resign. Herring said he would have conversations with leaders around the state to determine if it makes sense for him to continue serving as attorney general.

All three officials have yet to give any sign they will resign their post.