Here Are The Democrats Calling For Virginia Governor To Resign Over Racist Yearbook Photo

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, has had a very bad week.

First, he endorsed infanticide and refused to walk back his statements. Then, on Friday, his old medical school yearbook page surfaced. It included a photo of him and someone else dressed in blackface and a KKK robe. We still don’t know which costume Northam wore.

Democrats were not upset over the governor endorsing the murder of born-alive babies, but they do seem upset over his 30-year-old yearbook photo, and many have called for him to resign. Here’s a list of those who have called for Northam to resign:

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus

In a tweet Friday night, the VLBC called for the governor to resign after its members privately met with him.

“We just finished meeting with the Governor. We fully appreciate all that he has contributed to our commonwealth. But given what was revealed today, it is clear that he can no longer effectively serve as Governor. It is time for him to resign, so that Virginia can begin the process of healing,” the statement said.

Virginia House Democrats

Shortly after the VLBC released its statement, the Virginia House Democrats released their own, which clearly pained them to write.

“We are so deeply saddened by the news that has been revealed today. We are having trouble reconciling our experience with Governor Northam with what we see in this photo. The Governor Northam we know is a great friend and ally, who has served and dedicated himself to our Commonwealth and the nation,” the statement said.

“However, constituents’ trust in their elected officials is paramount. We regret to say that we are no longer confident in the Governor’s representation of Virginians. Though it brings us no joy to do so, we must call for Governor Northam’s resignation.”

Virginia Senate Democrats

After the VLBC and House Democrats called for Northam’s resignation, the Senate Democrats followed suit.

“After seeing the yearbook pictures that surface of Governor Northam today, were shocked, saddened, and offended. Virginia has a complicated racial history and past, and those pictures certainly reflect that. Black face was used to ridicule African Americans and the Klan was a source of terror and intimidation. The racism engendered by these images was real then and resurrected by these images today. We are beyond disappointed.”

“The Ralph Northam we know is a pediatric neurologist, a dedicated public servant, and a committed husband and father. Nevertheless, it is with heavy hearts that we have respectfully asked him to step down.”

Del. Kathy Tran

Tran is the woman who introduced the bill allowing abortion up to the minute a child is being born. Her video sparked a national outcry following a similar bill passed in New York. It was this video that prompted Northam to defend infanticide. Now Tran is calling for him to resign.

“I am deeply offended by the racist photo of Governor Northam on his page in his medical school yearbook. It is a reminder of Virginia’s painful history of slavery, segregation, and racism and that we are still traveling the long road towards justice,” Tran said.

“Our Commonwealth is strong because of its diversity, and we need leaders who can inspire us along that journey. I stand with my friends in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and Virginia House Democratic Caucus in calling for Governor Northam to resign. I will continue the hard work of building a welcoming and inclusive Virginia.”

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe

The former Virginia governor and ardent supporter of Northam also asked him to resign.

“This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time,” McAuliffe tweeted.

“The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It's time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward.”

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi finally called on Northam to resign Saturday morning, the day after the photo surfaced.

“The photo is racist and contrary to fundamental American values. I join my colleagues in Virginia calling on Governor Northam to do the right thing so that the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia can heal and move forward,” Pelosi tweeted.

Planned Parenthood

The organization that supports the governor on infanticide has called for him to resign over the yearbook photo.

“There is no place for @GovernorVA’s racist actions or language in our democracy, or our country. He should resign immediately,” the organization tweeted, including a statement from its president, Dr. Leana Wen.


Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, also took to Twitter to call on Northam to resign.

“Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the @NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor @RalphNortham,” he tweeted.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Biden may run for president in 2020, and he joined a chorus of Democrat presidential hopefuls in calling for Northam to resign.

“There is no place for racism in America. Governor Northam has lost all moral authority and should resign immediately, Justin Fairfax is the leader Virginia needs now,” Biden tweeted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

"Gov. Northam should resign. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax should step in and begin a new day for Virginia," the Vermont senator tweeted.

Sen. Kamala Harris

The California senator was one of the first to call for Northam to resign.

“Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together,” Harris tweeted.

Sen. Cory Booker

The New Jersey senator just announced he was running for president, so he also called on Northam to resign.

“These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign,” Booker tweeted.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

The Massachusetts senator released a statement to The New York Times calling for Northam’s resignation.

"These racist images are deeply disturbing. Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated, especially from our leaders— Republican or Democrat. Northam must resign," Warren said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

The New York senator also suggested the Virginia governor resign.

“There aren’t two sets of rules for our friends and our foes: Right is right and wrong is wrong. Americans deserve to be respected by their leaders, and racism cannot be excused in our government or anywhere else. Having seen the photo, I believe Governor Northam should resign,” Gillibrand tweeted.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Castro was actually the first presidential hopeful to call for Northam’s resignation.

“It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign,” Castro tweeted.

Sen. Sherrod Brown

The Ohio senator called the photo "awful" and "indefensible" in an interview with the Des Moines Register and said he agreed with Harris and others who called for Northam's resignation.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

The Minnesota senator invoked the words of Rep. Bobby Scott in her call for Northam to resign.

“'The Governor must now make the right decision' for Virginia. Those were the wise words of Rep. Bobby Scott, sr. member of congress from Virginia re the shockingly racist photo we all saw today. I believe that for the good of his state and the country the Governor should resign," Klobuchar tweeted.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez

“'He does not think.?' That doesn’t make sense. First, most people would say it’s not me if it wasn’t...also, he implies it could have been. Second, for most year books a student has to buy the page & select the photos to be published. #NorthamMustResign," the California congressman tweeted.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous

Jealous ran an unsuccessful bid for Maryland governor, but now calls on Northam to resign.

“Governor Northam should resign. Period,” Jealous tweeted. “We would not accept such behavior from a Republican. How can we from a Democrat?”

Rep. John Yarmouth

"Photos of VA Gov. Ralph Northam in 1984 conjure up a racist and hate-filled past of our nation that should be left on the ash heap of history, not celebrated by our leaders. He must resign immediately," the Kentucky congressman tweeted.

Former Maryland Representative John Delaney

Delaney is also running for president in 2020 and called on Northam to resign.

“We can not unsee what we have now seen,” he said in a statement to the Baltimore Sun, “which is a picture of Gov. Northam posing in a racist photo.”

Sen. Brian Schatz

"He should resign. It’s not a close call. It’s awful. It’s shocking. He has lost any ability to govern effectively," the Hawaii senator tweeted.

Jennifer Rubin

The Washington Post columnist also called on Northam to resign, but made her own seemingly racist comment when talking about Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would take over as governor or Northam resigns.

“Dems need to move Northam out ASAP. Lt. Gov is dynamic, eloquent African American. Every hour or day that goes by makes the whole thing worse,” Rubin tweeted.

Prominent Democrats NOT Demanding Northam Resign

There’s also some high-profile Democrats standing by Northam — or at least not calling on him to resign.

Virginia Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw

This prominent state Democrat actually defended Northam initially.

“His whole life has been about exactly the opposite, and that’s what you need to examine, not something that occurred 30 years ago,” Saslaw told The Washington Post. “While it’s in very poor taste, I would think no one in the General Assembly would like their college conduct examined. I would hate to have to go back and examine my two years in the Army. Trust me. I was 18 years old and I was a handful, okay? His life since then has been anything but. It’s been a life of helping people, and many times for free.”

He later told the Post he agreed with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who called on Northam to resign.

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring

Herring is waiting for his turn to run for governor, so he didn’t explicitly call for Northam to resign, because doing so would mean he would have to go up against Fairfax in 2021.

“Virginia’s history is unfortunately replete with the scars and unhealed wounds caused by racism, bigotry and discrimination,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who plans to run for governor in 2021. “It is imperative that Governor Nor­tham hears and truly listens to those who are hurt by this image as he considers what comes next.”

Sen. Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee and current Virginia Senator Tim Kaine called Northam’s photo “horrible,” but didn’t call on him to resign.

“The racist photo from Governor Northam’s 1984 yearbook is horrible. This causes pain in a state and a country where centuries of racism have already left an open wound. I hope the Governor – whose career as an Army officer, pediatrician and public official has always manifested a commitment to justice and equality for all – now takes the time to listen to those he has hurt and reflect on how to move forward,” Kaine said in a statement.

Sen. Mark Warner

Warner also called the photo “deeply offensive,” but didn’t call for Northam’s resignation.

“This photo is shocking and deeply offensive, all the more so because of Virginia’s long and painful history of racism and violence toward African Americans. The Governor must now listen to the people and communities he has hurt, and carefully consider what comes next,” Warner said in a statement.

This list will be updated if anyone was missed or if any other Democrats call for Northam's resignation.


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