Northam Claims He Just Saw Racist Yearbook Photo for First Time — But He Confesses to Another ‘Blackface’ Incident

During a press conference on Saturday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam claimed that until the previous day, he never saw the controversial yearbook photo that prompted widespread calls for his resignation.

“When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time,” Northam told reporters. He added that he didn’t purchase the yearbook and didn’t know the picture was on his personal yearbook page.

Watch his comments below:

Northam reiterated that he wasn’t either of the two men — one of whom was dressed in blackface and the other as a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member — in the photo, although his initial statement indicated that he was one of those individuals.

But while Northam continued distancing himself from that particular photo, he admitted to darkening his skin around that time as part of a Michael Jackson costume for a dance contest.

Watch below:

“I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that,” he said. “It is because my memory of that episode is so vivid that I truly do not believe that I am in the picture in my yearbook.”

Northam indicated that he would have remembered something like that photo given how well he remembered the Jackson costume.

As previously noted, Northam faced mounting calls for his resignation but resisted those. During Saturday’s press conference, he said he planned to “continue to lead” but would revisit the issue if he felt like he wasn’t being “effective” and “efficient” for the state.

Northam received some support from the Virginia Senate minority leader but faced flack from both Democrats and Republicans at the state level. The Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) also called on Northam to resign, saying that the photo was “both racist and inexcusable.”

“It is time for Gov. Northam to step aside and allow Virginia to move forward,” DGA’s chair and vice chair said in a joint statement on Saturday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden joined former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in calling for Northam’s resignation.

“There is no place for racism in America. Governor Northam has lost all moral authority and should resign immediately, Justin Fairfax is the leader Virginia needs now,” Biden said, referring to the state’s lieutenant governor.

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