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Virginia‘s outgoing Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, faced multiple calls for his resignation following a blackface scandal in 2019, with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., demanding Northam step down. Yet Northam did not resign, and Kaine recently said he was “glad” the governor remained in office.
In fact, Kaine called Northam the most consequential Virginia governor of the modern era, according to The Washington Post.
While the senator formerly called on Northam to resign, Kaine told the Post, “I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.”
Many Virginians asked the governor to resign after a yearbook photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) – Northam’s alma mater – went viral. The photo on Northam’s yearbook page shows two men, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. Northam apologized for the photo, said he had never seen it before, and insisted that he was not one of the two men pictured in it.
Sen. Tim Kaine D-Va., speaks during a news conference outside of the Senate chamber, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Even so, Kaine and his fellow U.S. Senator Mark Warner demanded Northam’s resignation.
“After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
“Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders,” the lawmakers said. “He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter’s question dealing with the state’s COVID-19 updates during a press conference at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also called on Northam to resign, before McAuliffe himself received Northam’s endorsement in the 2021 gubernatorial election. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate who went on to defeat McAuliffe, highlighted this flip-flop in an ad.
L. Douglas Wilder, the first Black governor of Virginia, also attacked McAuliffe for this flip-flop.
“The people of Virginia have not forgotten, they’re not stupid,” Wilder said. “They’re not fooled, they’re not being hoodwinked.” He noted that “no reasons have been given to the voters as to Terry’s change of mind” on Northam.
Governor Douglas Wilder, D-Va., on March 8, 1991. (Photo by Maureen Keating/ CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
Neither Northam nor Kaine responded to Fox News’ requests for comment by press time.