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The Latest: Trump: Photo would’ve doomed Northam’s campaign

February 3, 2019
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This image shows Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. The page shows a picture, at right, of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood next to different pictures of the governor. It's unclear who the people in the picture are, but the rest of the page is filled with pictures of Northam and lists his undergraduate alma mater and other information about him. (Eastern Virginia Medical School via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and a racist photo in a 1984 yearbook (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Republican opponent would have easily won the 2017 governor’s race if the racist photo in Northam’s yearbook had been discovered during the campaign.

Trump tweeted Saturday night that Republican Ed Gillespie must believe his opposition research team committed “malpractice” and “dereliction of duty” by not uncovering the photo ahead of the 2017 election.

The photo on Northam’s medical school yearbook page shows one person in blackface and another hooded in white Ku Klux Klan regalia.

Northam defeated Gillespie by about 9 percentage points, but Trump says Gillespie would have won by 20 points if someone had found the photo.

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8:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is weighing in on the racist photo that appeared in the medical college yearbook of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

In a tweet Saturday night, Trump refers to Northam and the photo showing a person in blackface and a person in Ku Klux Klan regalia. Trump ties the governor’s statement denying he is in the photo to what Trump calls Northam’s “horrible statement” earlier this week on late-term abortions. Trump concludes, “Unforgivable!”

Earlier this week, abortion opponents accused Northam of supporting infanticide. In a radio interview, Northam described a hypothetical situation in which an infant who is severely deformed or unable to survive after birth is left to die.

Trump tweeted after those comments that “Democrats are becoming the Party of late term abortion.”

Here's the latest for Saturday, February 2nd: VA Gov. Ralph Northam vowing to remain in office; Vladimir Putin says Russia will abandon INF treaty; Venezuela President Maduro proposed holding elections; Punxsutawney Phil says spring is coming early.

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7:20 p.m.

Both of Virginia’s U.S. senators say they have called the state’s governor, Ralph Northam, to tell him that he must resign after a racist photo was discovered on Northam’s page in a medical school yearbook.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are joined by the dean of Virginia’s congressional delegation, Rep. Bobby Scott, in a statement Saturday night that says they have told Northam that they no longer believe he can effectively serve as governor.

Their statement says Northam has served Virginians faithfully for many years but that the events of the last 24 hours “have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders.”

Northam says he is not in the photo, which shows someone in blackface and someone in Ku Klux Klan robes.

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6:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential hopefuls are getting their first major test on how they will address racial tensions that have polarized American life.

A racist photo tied to Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from his days in medical school has prompted them to deal with the question.

Nearly every major declared and potential Democratic candidate called for Northam’s resignation after the disclosure of the yearbook photo, which shows one person in blackface and another hooded in white Klan regalia.

Their reactions came before Northam said during a news conference Saturday that he was not in the photo on his page of the 1984 yearbook.

A prominent Democratic strategist, Symone Sanders, says candidates already face challenges explaining their own records on racially fraught matters and now must deal with the Northam issue.

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6 p.m.

Virginia’s attorney general is calling for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.

Mark Herring said in a statement Saturday that it’s no longer possible for Northam to “lead our Commonwealth.”

Herring is the latest prominent Democrat to call for the Democratic governor to step down. Others calling for Northam’s resignation include the Virginia Democratic Party, the state House Democratic Caucus and many Democratic candidates for president.

Herring’s statement followed Northam’s press conference at which he denied being in a medical school yearbook photo that shows a person in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

Northam, however, admitted to wearing blackface as Michael Jackson at a dance contest.

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5 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has admitted to wearing blackface while dressing up like Michael Jackson at a dance contest around the time he was in medical school.

Northam made the admission Saturday at a press conference where he denied being in a photo that shows a man in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

That image appeared alongside photos of Northam in his medical school yearbook in 1984 and has sparked a torrent of calls for his resignation.

The Democratic governor said he darkened his face with “a little bit” of shoe polish for his Michael Jackson costume at a 1984 San Antonio talent show.

Northam said he regrets that he didn’t understand “the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

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5 p.m.

A man who went to medical school with Ralph Northam says he also didn’t buy the class’s 1984 yearbook or see it until decades after it was published.

Walt Broadnax is one of two black students who graduated with Northam. He said by phone Saturday that students submitted photos for someone else to lay out.

Broadnax saw his yearbook page for the first time Saturday. He said it turned out how he intended with photos of family and a woman he was dating.

Broadnax defended Northam and said he’s not a racist. He said he believes Northam’s statement that he wasn’t in the photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in a KKK costume.

He said the school never would have tolerated someone going to a party in blackface.

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4:20 p.m.

Virginia’s lieutenant governor says the state needs leaders who can unite people and “help us rise to the better angels of our nature.”

If Gov. Ralph Northam were to resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would become the second African-American governor of Virginia.

In his statement issued Saturday, Fairfax doesn’t call for Northam to resign because of racist photos on Northam’s 1984 yearbook profile page.

But Fairfax does say that he “cannot condone actions from (the governor’s) past” that at least “suggest a comfort with Virginia’s darker history of white supremacy, racial stereotyping and intimidation.”

Northam said Saturday that he hadn’t seen photos of one person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan until someone showed them to him Friday. He says he won’t resign despite widespread calls that he step aside and let Fairfax lead Virginia.

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3 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vowed to remain in office despite widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced in his yearbook page from more than 30 years ago.

Northam said at a news conference Saturday that he had prematurely apologized for appearing in a picture of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. The photo appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

The Democratic governor said Saturday that he, in fact, was not in the photo and had never even seen the yearbook until Friday.

His refusal to resign signals a potential bruising fight between Northam and his former supporters. Leaders in both parties have repeatedly urged Northam to resign, saying he’s lost the public’s trust.

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1:35 p.m.

The president of Eastern Virginia Medical School says a racist photo that appears in the 1984 student yearbook is “shockingly abhorrent.”

In a statement on the school’s website , President Richard Homan said the photo of one person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood is “absolutely antithetical” to the school’s principles, morals and values.

The photo was on the profile page of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who says he believes he’s not one of the men in the picture.

Homan also apologized for “past transgressions of your trust.” He said he’ll convene a meeting of leadership and others to address the issue. ___

12:50 p.m.

North Carolina’s governor is calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign because of a photograph on Northam’s yearbook profile page.

In an emailed statement, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the photograph is both reprehensible and deeply disappointing. He said the photo comes “with pain beyond what many of us can even understand.”

Cooper called Northam’s resignation “the only way forward.”

A photo from a 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced Friday, showing a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. The photo was on Northam’s profile page.

Northam was scheduled to speak publicly Saturday afternoon. ___

12:25 p.m.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a photograph on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook profile page “racist and contrary to fundamental American values.”

She said Saturday via Twitter that she is joining her colleagues in Virginia in calling for Northam “to do the right thing” so that the people in Virginia can heal and move on.

The Virginia Democratic Party on Saturday called on Northam to resign after the photo from a 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced Friday. The photo shows a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Northam was scheduled to speak to the public Saturday afternoon.

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11:35 a.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is planning a news conference where he’s expected to say he’s not resigning and believes he was not in a racist picture featured in his 1984 medical yearbook.

Northam’s office on Saturday said the 2:30 p.m. news conference would take place at the Executive Mansion.

Northam is calling Democrats ahead of the news conference to try and shore up support. A wide swath of Democrats and Republicans have called on Northam to resign after he apologized Friday for appearing in a photo in which one person is dressed in blackface and another is wearing a full Ku Klux Klan uniform.

But Northam said he now believes he was not in the picture and can prove that it wasn’t him, said state Sen. Louise Lucas. ___

10:45 a.m.

A Virginia Democrat who has spoken with Gov. Ralph Northam has told The Associated Press that the governor now does not believe he was in a racist picture in his 1984 medical yearbook and has no immediate plans to resign.

The Democrat was not authorized to speak on the record to detail a private conversation.

Northam is calling state lawmakers Saturday to try and gain support so he can remain in office, the Democrat said.

Northam has faced a torrent of criticism and calls for his resignation after a photo surfaced from decades ago that showed two people in racist costumes: One person is dressed in blackface, and another is wearing a full Ku Klux Klan uniform.The photo appeared in Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook. On Friday, Northam apologized for appearing in the photo.

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10:30 a.m.

Top Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after he acknowledged appearing in a photo wearing a racist costume.

House Speaker Kirk Cox and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said Saturday the governor had lost the public’s confidence, and it is in the state’s best interests for him to step down.

The Republicans join a growing chorus of elected officials in Virginia and elsewhere calling for Northam’s resignation.

Northam apologized Friday for appearing in a photo in which one person is dressed in blackface and another is wearing a full Ku Klux Klan uniform, but has not said he will resign. The photo appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appears to have almost no choice but to resign after losing support from virtually the entire state Democratic party and other key allies, who urged the governor to leave office because of a racist photo in which he appeared more than 30 years ago.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the state House Democratic Caucus and the state Senate Democratic Caucus all called on Northam to resign late Friday, along with several key progressive groups that have been some of the governor’s closest political allies.

Their calls for Northam to step down came in a wave late Friday, after the Democrat had apologized for appearing in a photo in which one person is dressed in blackface and another is wearing a full Ku Klux Klan uniform. The photo appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

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