Raimondo: Virginia gov must resign over racist photo

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the head of the Democratic Governors Association, on Saturday called on Virginia’s Democratic governor to resign after a yearbook photo surfaced showing him in a racist costume.

“The disturbing and racist image of Ralph Northam was not acceptable 30 years ago, and it is not acceptable today,” Raimondo said in a statement.

“Governor Northam can no longer serve the best interests of Virginians,” she continued. “It is time for Governor Northam to resign and allow Lt. Gov. Fairfax to lead Virginia forward.”

Northam’s 1984 yearbook entry for medical school shows two men posing side by side, one in blackface and one in a Ku Kluk Klan outfit, according to a picture posted by multiple news outlets. CBS News separately reported a different yearbook entry for Northam that used a racial slur.

The revelation has triggered bipartisan calls for Northam to resign. R.I. Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell criticizied Raimondo for waiting half a day to speak out.

“Come out of hiding Governor Raimondo,” Bell said in a statement, adding, “Your silence against the hate that past generations fought to end is deafening.”

In a statement Friday, Northam apologized but did not say which costume he was wearing.

Northam was first elected in 2017 and under Virginia law is limited to a single four-year term. Raimondo congratulated him on Twitter at the time of his election:

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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