RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — After ignoring calls for his own resignation, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is declining to weigh in on whether the state’s embattled lieutenant governor or its attorney general should step down.
Northam said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that it’s up to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring to make their own decisions.
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All three Democrats are embroiled in controversies involving race or sex.
Northam said he supports Fairfax’s call for an investigation into allegations of sexual assault by two women. Fairfax has vehemently denied the allegations.
Herring admitted to wearing blackface in college. Northam said of Herring, that, “just like me, he has grown.”
The governor has ignored calls to resign since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced. He denies being in the photo, but he admitted to wearing blackface in 1984.
Northam adds that he thought about resigning in the days after a racist yearbook photo surfaced.
The embattled Democrat told Gayle King of CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that “Yes, I have thought about resigning.” But he said he’s in a position to lead and that “Virginia needs someone that can heal.”
He added: “That’s why I’m not going anywhere.”
Northam said now is the time to take action and to employ government policies to address racial inequalities in the state.
Appearing on the same program, a Democratic Virginia congresswoman is standing by her call for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign as a result of the scandal.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton spoke after the network aired clips of the Northam interview in which he expressed regret and said he wouldn’t step down.
Wexton says Northam, also a Democrat, has lost the confidence of Virginia voters and no longer can serve as an effective governor. Wexton also says she expects that Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax will “do the right thing for Virginia and resign,” calling the allegations of sexual assault against him by two women “extremely credible.”
Wexton is withholding judgment on Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, saying he came forward “proactively” in acknowledging that he, too, had worn blackface as a young man.