Blackface, sexual assault & full-birth abortion: Virginia Democrats in crisis


In December 2017, she told the Virginia congressman that Fairfax had a "MeToo allegation" against him - but didn't elaborate on the accusation or who was involved, Scott's spokesman Austin Barbera told local NBC affiliate WAVY TV.

Blackface began in NY vaudeville shows of the 1830s, when slavery was still legal in the U.S. South, and featured white performers who blackened their faces with burnt cork or shoe polish to caricature blacks on plantations as lazy and stupid.

Virtually every Virginia Democrat, and most major figures in the party, called for Northam to resign, a move that would in the normal line of succession elevate Democratic Lt, Gov. Justin Fairfax to the governor's mansion. But before his ascendency could be complete, Professor Vanessa Tyson came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Fairfax. They also said that while they appreciated Herring's "candor" in admitting to wearing blackface, they "await further action on his part to reassure the citizens of the Commonwealth of his fitness for leadership".

With Virginia's top three elected officials engulfed in scandal, fellow Democrats were rendered practically speechless, uncertain of how to thread their way through the racial and sexual allegations and their tangled political implications. Fairfax, however, had his own moment of reckoning this week, when a California professor accused him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Democrats have expressed fear the uproar over the governor could jeopardize their chances of taking control of the Republican-dominated legislature in Virginia this year after making big gains in 2017. Kirk Cox, 61, the Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, is No. 3 in line to succeed the governor.

And an IL mayor, Hal Patton of Edwardsville, was running for the state Senate in 2018 when the Belleville News-Democrat newspaper published a photo of him in blackface at a Halloween party a decade earlier.

If Northam resigns, Fairfax would become governor. "And in my remarks on Monday, I think you could hear how emotional dealing with an allegation that I know is not true has been for me". President Trump referred to Northam's interview during his State of the Union speech, where he bashed the embattled governor for stating "he would execute a baby after birth".

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"The party's put in an odd position", said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist who, like much of the political world, watched Virginia's developments with astonishment Wednesday.

State Democrats and at least five Democratic 2020 White House contenders urged Northam, 59, to resign after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page was made public on Friday by a conservative media website.

Norment in a statement said he was one of seven people who worked on the yearbook and that he did not appear in or take photos showing people in blackface.

Days after the Northam scandal broke, Herring admitted that he had worn blackface in college.

Herring said in a statement Wednesday that he wore blackface and a wig to look like a rapper when he was a 19-year-old student at the University of Virginia.

The political crisis in Virginia deepened Wednesday with charges against two more top leaders, even as Governor Ralph Northam's career was already in jeopardy over a racist photo. But in his statement, he said nothing about the existence of a photo.

Northam, whose term runs through 2022, initially said he was in the photograph, but backtracked a day later.