Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Historians 'mystified' by Governor Ralph Northam 'indentured servants' remark

Historians 'mystified' by Governor Ralph Northam 'indentured servants' remark

Ralph Northam told CBS Sunday morning that he's "not going anywhere", days after a racist yearbook photo resurfaced.

"I have thought about resigning, but I've also thought about what Virginia needs right now", Northam told CBS News.

But wait, Northam isn't done prattling on: "Virginia needs someone that can heal. And that's why I felt so strongly about going in front of the camera on Saturday and clarifying", the governor said. (Northam still denies that he appeared in either blackface or a Klan robe in racist photos in his medical-school yearbook page.) On Saturday, the governor told the Washington Post that he "overreacted" when he initially apologized for the yearbook photos and said that he would commit the rest of his term to addressing inequality.

After staying out of sight since he faced the press on February 2 to deny he was pictured in the racist photo on his yearbook page, but admitting that he had worn blackface on another occasion, Northam, 59, returned to the public eye to attend the funeral of a slain state trooper.

King asked Northam whether he owned the distinctive plaid trousers worn by the person in blackface in the photo in his yearbook.

"We take the allegations against Justin very seriously", Nashelsky continued.

"African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia!"

Meanwhile, the state's Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, has been accused of sexual assault by two women, independently of one another.

On Saturday, Fairfax issued a statement repeating his strong denials that he had ever sexually assaulted anyone and made clear he does not intend to immediately step down and says he is calling for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.

Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is blaming his white privilege on recent accusations of racism. If they were all to resign over these controversies, Virginia could be led by the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.

Asked whether Fairfax should resign, Northam said, "That's going to be a decision that he needs to make". On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax said he was "aggressively exploring options for a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation" of the allegations.

She said in a phone interview that Northam's "indentured servant" remark is "shocking in light of his current political difficulties".

Inside, he faced fellow Democrats who have called for his resignation after two women accused him of rape.

Northam has been in seclusion all week, using tunnels to shuttle between the mansion and the nearby building where he has an office.

"It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me", Fairfax said.

Fairfax is denying the latest allegation made by Watson, a former Duke classmate, who said he raped her in a "premeditated and aggressive attack" while they were undergraduates in 2000. Both of Fairfax's accusers, Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, announced over the weekend that they would be willing to testify at an impeachment hearing if called upon.

If Fairfax were to resign, the Associated Press reports it's unclear who could replace him. He's a Republican, which is giving the Democratic officerholders another reason to try to keep their positions.

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