Amid calls from an increasing number of political figures and organizations to step down, embattled Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam refused to resign in a message he delivered to the public on Friday night as the blowback from his racist KKK and blackface photo continued to gain momentum.
"My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor," Northam said. "I believe you deserve to hear directly from me."
"I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve," Northam said in a video.
The photo, from Northam's 1984 yearbook at Eastern Virginia Medical School, became public early Friday afternoon after multiple media outlets reported on it.
In a statement released earlier in the day, Northam apologized for the costume he wore in the photo, which he described as "clearly racist and offensive," but notably did not specify which of the costumes he was wearing. He also did not give any indication that he had plans to step down.
Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.
I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.
This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.
I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.
On Wednesday, Northam endorsed infanticide during an interview with WTOP’s "Ask The Governor." Northam stated:
This is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that are involved. When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus which is non-viable. So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.
"This is pure infanticide," Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro noted. "It's also an argument for eugenic murder (see his comments about deformities). Northam is specifically talking about delivering an infant alive and then asking the mother whether the infant should live or not. This is not an argument about the morning-after pill. It’s not an argument over whether a fetus feels pain. This is a statement that a fully-formed infant, born alive, ought to be murdered if the mother says the infant ought to be murdered."