RICHMOND, Va. — The Republican Party of Virginia is calling on a number of Democrats to use PAC money raised by Gov. Ralph Northam to give it back as “reconciliation.”
This comes a day after the governor announced the first stop on his “apology tour” at Virginia Union University next week.
RPV Chairman Jack Wilson says Democrats should donate the “tainted money” from “The Way Ahead” and “Stronger Together,” and give it to the United States National Slavery Museum or another cause supported by former Governor Doug Wilder.
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“They received money and have called on the governor to resign. So I think they too should turn those funds over to a worthy cause,” Wilson said.
House and Senate Democrats initially called for Northam to resign when a photograph surfaced in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical College yearbook of a man in blackface and another in a KKK robe. About a week later, the party muted their calls and said Democratic lawmakers were going to meet with constituents to see what path they would like to see moving forward.
In a press conference, Northam denied that he was in that photograph, after apologizing for it the day before. He did admit to doing blackface while in college while competing in a Michael Jackson dance competition in San Antonio, Texas.
A yearbook from the Virginia Military Institute also showed Northam’s yearbook photo with an offensive nickname. The Governor said that term was used by two men a year older than him but didn’t know their intentions for calling him it.
“Do you really think Northam’s a racist?” I asked Wilson.
“Given his background, I mean obviously given his background you have the situation with the photographs like sort of his nicknames, some of his actions,” he said.
When pressed on this question, since other Republicans are supporting Northam and are not calling on him to step down, Wilson said it’s a matter of opinion.
RPV specifically called on the Democratic Party of Virginia, House and Senate Democrats as well as Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-District 35) to act.
Sen. Saslaw said he wouldn’t comment on what’s happening at the Capitol with the executive branch members, but when asked if he heard about the Republican party’s statement he said, “Yeah, if they can show it to me that it was illegal.”
The House Minority Leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-District 41) did not comment on the Republican Party’s call either, saying lawmakers need to focus on the big bills on the floor.
“Obviously dealing with finance, you know, campaign issues, is not what we’re sent here to do nor what we should be doing. Let’s stay focused on the important issues,” Del. Filler-Corn said.
Today, the House and Senate passed a tax plan that would give an individual tax filer a $110 rebate, and double that for a couple. The bills were approved as “emergency” legislation, so they would go into effect immediately once signed by the Governor.
The Virginia Democratic Party did release a statement, saying they are donating $2,000 to the General Assembly’s Martin Luther King Commission in response to this “shameful political posturing.”
The party’s communications director also called on RPV to match their donation.