Embattled Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam refused to shake the hand of an African-American political opponent during a debate in 2013 and went as far as to not even acknowledge his existence.
The video, which has circulated on social media for years, shows the very end of a debate when then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Northam refused to shake hands with his opponent E.W. Jackson during an on-air debate.
Writing for Breitbart News, Larry O’Connor reported that he interviewed Jackson on “Mornings on the Mall” on WMAL in Washington, D.C., where he asked Jackson about the incident.
“It was insulting, but, on the other hand, I thought it was consistent with the way he behaves,” Jackson said. “Because, this spot he’s been running, saying that I believe that a child born with birth defects is born that way because of their parents’ sin is just a damnable, palpable, despicable lie. I don’t believe that. I never said anything like that. And it’s that kind of dishonesty that, to me, says this is not the kind of person that needs to be holding state-wide office. Not shaking my hand really just confirmed that.”
Video of the incident shows that when Jackson extended his hand, Northam acted like he didn’t see it. Jackson then tapped Northam with his hand to let him know he was trying to shake his hand and Northam still refused to acknowledge Jackson.
The video resurfaced amid an ongoing racism scandal that has rocked the political scene, not only in Virginia but nationwide, as dozens of prominent Democrats have called on Northam to resign.
Northam “met with his cabinet on Monday as state legislators returned to a Capitol thrown into chaos by the governor’s insistence on staying in office despite revelations that a photograph showing people in blackface and Ku Klux Klan robes was displayed on his medical school yearbook page,” The New York Times reported. “But even after meeting Sunday night with a group of his African-American aides, most of whom told him the only way he could clear his name would be to quit, Mr. Northam was giving no indication that he intended to step down.”
As Northam’s future remains uncertain, a new scandal has hit Virginia’s state capitol, as Democrat Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would take over as Governor if Northam resigned, was accused of sexual assault on Monday.
“The lieutenant governor vehemently denied the claim that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004, which was posted on the same web site that revealed the photo from Northam’s yearbook on Friday,” The Washington Post reported.
“She was very much into a consensual encounter,” Fairfax said about the alleged incident from 2004. “Everything was 100 percent consensual. And now, years later, we have a totally fabricated story out of the blue to attack me once I was in politics.”
“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of my potentially being elevated, this uncorroborated smear comes up?” Fairfax continued. “You don’t have to be cynical, you don’t have to understand politics to understand when someone’s trying to manipulate a process to harm someone’s character without any basis whatsoever.”