President Donald Trump responded to the racist yearbook scandal involving Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam on Saturday evening by saying his recent actions over the last week are “unforgivable!”
“Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, ‘I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo,'” Trump tweeted. “This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on ‘super’ late term abortion. Unforgivable!”
“When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time,” Northam claimed on Saturday. “I did not purchase the EVMS yearbook and I was unaware of what was on my page. When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page but I believed then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo.”
Later in the press conference, Northam admitted to wearing blackface on a separate occasion while he was dressed up as Michael Jackson.
“My belief that I did not wear that costume or attend that party stems in part from my clear memory of other mistakes I made in the same period of my life,” Northam said. “That same year, I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume.”
A Democratic source told The New York Times that “the governor was determined to prove it was not him in the photograph and was even considering using facial recognition software.”
Northam was also asked about his “coonman” nickname that appeared in a separate yearbook at Virginia Military Institute.
“My main nickname in high school and in college was ‘Goose’ because when my voice was changing, I would change an octave,” Northam said. “There were two individuals, as best as I can recollect, at VMI they were a year ahead of me. They called me ‘Coonman.’ I don’t know their motives or intent. I know who they are. That was the extent of that. And it ended up in the yearbook. And I regret that.”
Northam came under fire earlier in the week after he endorsed infanticide during an interview with a news publication.
Following the outrage that ensued, a reporter asked Northam at a press conference the next day, “do you regret what you said yesterday or the way you said it?”
“No, I don’t,” Northam responded. “And you know, um, Allen I appreciate the question, I’m a physician, uh, I’m also the governor. Um, but when I’m asked questions a lot of times it is put into context of being a physician. Uh, again, realizing, you know, how we, uh, approach, how we manage patients, we offer advice and counseling. So no, I don’t have any regrets.”
“But I, I do find uh, you know that how, uh, my comments, uh, I, I did answer that question,” Northam continued. “I, I regret that those comments mischaracterized. Uh, the personal uh, insults toward me I really find disgusting. So I, I again as I said in my comments earlier, you know we can agree to disagree, Allen. But let’s be civil about it.”