Virginia Democrats Are ‘Sorry’ They Were Harsh to Ralph Northam After Blackface Incident

Some Democrats in Virginia feel bad about how mean they were to Gov. Ralph Northam after he admitted to wearing blackface and had racist yearbook photos resurface.

As IJR previously reported, Northam’s controversy started after photos from his college yearbook resurfaced depicting two men, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam admitted to being in the photos and then later denied that he was aware they existed. He did, however, admit to wearing blackface while dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance competition.

During the same press conference where he admitted to wearing blackface, he also cracked a joke about the difficulties of washing off shoe polish and considered demonstrating his moonwalking skills.

For all of this, many Democrats called for his resignation.

However, shortly after the allegations surfaced against Northam, two other Virginia Democrats were hit by scandals. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault, and Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he, too, wore blackface when he was younger.

Although it seemed as though the top three men in Virginia were about to be booted from office, nothing ended up happening. Now, some Democrats are apologizing for being so hard on Northam in the first place.

According to a report from Inside NoVa, several state Democrats expressed regret for how harsh they were to Northam.

  • Del. Rip Sullivan admitted he was glad he and his peers decided to “take a breath” before taking action against any of the three top Democrats.
  • Sen. Janet Howell said she learned a lot of “life lessons” from the controversy, including: “Don’t rush to judgment.” Howell admitted that she was “sorry” she was so quick to condemn Northam and wished she would have been able to “ignore” the outside pressures to oust the governor for the racist photo.
  • Sen. Adam Ebbin claimed those who called for resignations “got out ahead of things.”
  • Del. Mark Levine said that he learned it’s important to “know your facts, particularly if you know the whole world is watching.” It isn’t clear what facts he was missing about Northam and Herring, though, who both admitted to wearing blackface.

Clearly, the Democrats in Virginia are a forgiving lot. With many still questioning how Northam, Fairfax, and Herring are in office, their quotes highlight that those men are there to stay.


  1. For the record: That is more active apologies from the people who criticized him than from the guy who actually appeared in blackface.
    What a world.

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