From jaw-dropping comments on abortion to racist yearbook photos, few people have had a worse week in public relations than Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam did last week.
After state Del. Kathy Tran proposed a bill that would allow an abortion while the mother was in labor, Northam made matters worse in a radio interview with WTOP when he explained that a child could be born and then later aborted.
Watch Northam on WTOP:
VA gov on abortion this morning:
“If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother" pic.twitter.com/cc15pVLjIQ
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 30, 2019
“It’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that is non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mothers.”
These comments launched Northam into the national spotlight, with everyone — except seemingly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — talking about Northam’s comments policy.
By Friday, a picture of Northam’s yearbook from medical school resurfaced. On his page was a picture of two men, one in a Ku Klux Klan robe and the other in blackface. Northam apologized and then denied that he was either man in the photo. He finally admitted that he had worn blackface once during a dance competition when he competed as Michael Jackson.
That series of events would be politically devastating for most, and it was for Northam among the average Virginia voter.
According to surveys conducted by Morning Consult, Northam’s approval rating plummeted from 48 percent to 29 percent. His disapproval rating from Republicans jumped from 49 percent to 73 percent, and his approval rating among independents dropped from 42 percent to 20 percent.
His scores sank among Democrats as well, but Northam still has the support of half of the Democrats surveyed in Virginia. Only 25 percent disapprove of Northam, while 50 percent still have his back.
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) February 4, 2019
Despite a 29 percent approval rating and calls for his resignation from many of his Democratic colleagues, Northam has said that he won’t leave his position.
It remains to be seen what Northam will do about his current predicament. He held a meeting with his staff Sunday night to discuss his options, but there haven’t been any updates as to the future of his time in the governor’s mansion.