U.S. state governor vows to stay in office despite blackface photo


"There aren't two sets of rules for our friends and our foes: Right is right and wrong is wrong ... and racism can not be excused in our government or anywhere else", she wrote.

He stood by his refusal on Saturday, saying that he intends "to continue doing the business of Virginia" despite the growing outrage over "racist", "offensive" and "disgusting" photo.

Northam told reporters that while he took responsibility for the photo shown in the yearbook, yesterday when his staff showed him the photo was the first time he saw it.

According to the Pilot, Eastern Virginia Medical School representative and spokesman Vincent Rhodes said the school would not be able to comment because the president of the school was traveling, the yearbook had not been produced since 1974, and that the yearbook was a "student-run activity".

After the photo went public Friday, Northam issued a statement saying he was "sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo". Referring to Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said he "cannot condone actions from his past" that at least "suggest a comfort with Virginia's darker history of white supremacy, racial stereotyping and intimidation".

Northam originally apologized Friday on Twitter "for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now". Even in my own statement yesterday I conceded that, based on the evidence presented to me at the time, the most likely explanation that it was indeed me in the photo.

"That photo, and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents, does not reflect that person I am today or the way I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor and a public servant", Northam added in the video statement.

"I'm not buying it".

"I am ready to earn your forgiveness, and I am ready to begin today", he said.

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However, Northam said he did darken his skin, putting shoe polish on his cheeks for a "costume" for a "Michael Jackson dance contest" around that time in San Antonio, Texas. "After I did that, I had a chance to reach out to classmates and my roommates and I am convinced, that's not my picture". You remember these things.

But Northam said that listening to the chorus of calls for him to step down would allow him to "spare myself from the hard path that lies ahead", he continued.

Northam, a 59-year-old pediatric neurologist and Army veteran, graduated from Norfolk medical school in 1984.

North Carolina NAACP leader William Barber, a minister who has spoken at Democratic National Conventions, said he is keeping no scorecard on who has called on Northam to step down.

"I believe now I am not either of the people in that photo", he continued. Also, I'm not sure how he could actually prove it's not him unless one or both people come forward and, let's face it, no one in the photo wants to become part of this media firestorm for obvious reasons.

But during the same press conference, he did admit that he has worn blackface before - to imitate Michael Jackson in a talent show.

The counter-argument, of course, is something like: These are their rules.

The press conference took another odd turn when the governor claimed his determination "stems in part from my clear memory of other mistakes I made in this same period of my life". It's only because Northam has a (D) after his name that he has the latitude to even try to hold onto his job at this point. "I think blackface is always wrong".

In a cringe-worthy moment of the press conference, Northam was seemingly prepared to repeat his award-winning moonwalk when asked by a journalist if he still got it in him. I don't like Ralph Northam or his politics but I hate the mob.