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Trump weighs in on Virginia Democrats’ woes

10 February 2019

Last week, the conservative news site Big League Politics published a photo from Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook showing two men, one dressed in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe, and purporting that one of them was Northam.

Herring's admission came after a meeting with the Virginia legislative black caucus, and before any unfortunate photos were dug up. "We've got a lot to digest", the group's chairman, Del.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault, a claim which he adamantly denies, and Attorney General Mark Herring has admitted to dressing in blackface as a part of a rapper costume when he was 19.

"He should resign", she said.

But then rumours began circulating of another controversial photo, and this time it was Herring who was said to been in "blackface".

Vanessa Tyson, a 42-year-old political science professor who studies the intersection of politics and the #MeToo movement, said Fairfax held her head down and forced her to perform oral sex on him in his hotel room at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.

"If Democrats don't take this seriously and begin an investigation, their credibility is lost", Nance said. "I am a proud Democrat".

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"At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter, nor during the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past 15 years", Fairfax said. "Given his false assertions, I'm compelled to make clear what happened". If Northam resigns, Fairfax would become governor.

"I felt a jarring sense of both outrage and despair", she said in the statement.

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

Brown added that discrimination issues in Virginia "are much more explicit" than they are in Oregon. But she stopped short of calling for them to resign.

At the Capitol, lawmakers were dumbstruck over the day's fast-moving developments, with Democratic Sen.

"I don't think Trump has changed the game", said Democratic strategist Dane Strother, who frequently works on campaigns in the South, noting Democratic Senator Al Franken's 2017 resignation after allegations of unwanted sexual advances were made against him. This is moving way too quickly.

President Donald Trump accused the Democrats of a double standard, tweeting: "If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken".

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Aaron Bernstein / ReutersJustin Fairfax speaking at an election rally for Ralph Northam in 2017.

The Democratic approach stands in contrast to the recent strategy by Republicans, who have stuck with Trump after he brushed off allegations of sexual misconduct to win the White House and weathered repeated scandals in office.

Northam has continued to cling to power, hunkered down in the governor's mansion in Richmond, despite facing calls to resign from nearly the entire Democratic party in Virginia, and a number of prominent black public figures. But he acknowledged he once used shoe polish to blacken his face and look like Michael Jackson at a dance contest in Texas decades ago. "The photo would be profoundly offensive in any circumstances, but it is also shocking and deeply disappointing to know that it pictures Governor Northam".

"That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others", he said.

But he added: "This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the almost 40 years since".

"As I said in my statement this morning, I have nothing to hide".

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Trump weighs in on Virginia Democrats’ woes