A scandalous picture has surfaced from the yearbook of Governor Ralph Northam (D). The picture featured in the governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook features a man in a Klu Klux Klan robe and hood, and another man in blackface next to photos of the future governor. The yearbook containing the photo is from Eastern Virginia Medical School circa 1984, the same year Northam graduated.
Under the photo of the men in blackface and Klan robe is listed Northam’s alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, and his interests as “Pediatrics”. His quote is listed as the following, “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.” Another page in the yearbook lists the racial slur, “Coonman” as one of Northam’s nicknames.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Jack Wilson, said in a statement: “Racism has no place in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”
In a separate statement, four top Republican lawmakers — House Speaker Kirk Cox, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Ryan T. McDougle — said: “This is a deeply disturbing and offensive photograph in need of an immediate explanation by the governor.”
The photo surfaced after the governor came under fire because of his comments on a bill that would have greatly loosened abortion restrictions in the state.
On Wednesday, Northam was on a WTOP-FM show and was asked about a failed bill introduced by Del. Kathy Tran that would have relaxed limits on third-trimester abortions.
On the WTOP show, Northam, a child neurologist, defended Tran’s bill, saying it was “blown out of proportion” and that such abortions are done “in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that is nonviable.”
Explaining what would happen in such a case, Northam made comments that were soon seized on by political opponents and others: “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 mother.”
Twitter has erupted with controversy over the yearbook photos, calling out Governor Northam. Some are even calling for his resignation, even after Jake Tapper of CNN released a statement from the governor’s office apologizing for his actions.