AP NEWS

The Latest: Official: Northam discussing future with staff

February 5, 2019
1 of 15
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pauses during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Northam is under fire for a racial photo that appeared in his college yearbook. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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

3:10 p.m.

A top administration official for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says the governor is meeting with staff to hear their assessment of whether it’s viable for him to stay in office.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the official was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly.

Northam has rebuffed widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo surfaced Friday in his 1984 medical school yearbook page. Northam initially apologized for appearing in the photo, but then said a day later that he was convinced he wasn’t in it.

The official said Northam is still trying to determine what’s best for the state as he weighs his future.

Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne said he’s told Northam the state can’t afford a prolonged period of uncertainty over his future.

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.
Tap to unmute

___

2:10 p.m.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying an uncorroborated allegation of sexual misconduct first reported by a conservative website.

Fairfax told reporters Monday that the 2004 encounter with a woman was consensual and he called the accusation of misconduct “a smear.”

The Associated Press is not reporting the details of the accusation because AP has not been able to corroborate it.

The Washington Post said Monday that it was approached by the woman in 2017, carefully investigated, but never published the accusation.

The Post said the woman had not told anyone about it, the account could not be corroborated, Fairfax denied it and the Post was unable to find other allegations against him.

Fairfax would become Virginia governor if Ralph Northam were to resign or be ousted in the scandal over a racist photo on his page in his medical school yearbook.

___

12 p.m.

The president of a Virginia university says Gov. Ralph Northam won’t be a part of her official inauguration this week after the revelation of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

William & Mary President Katherine Rowe said in a statement Monday that Northam was scheduled to participate in Friday’s celebration that will also mark the school’s 326th anniversary. But after conferring with Northam’s office, Rowe says he won’t be part of the program.

Under the circumstances Rowe says Northam’s “presence would fundamentally disrupt the sense of campus unity we aspire to and hope for with this event.”

Northam, who is facing calls from within his own party to resign, denies being in the photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.

___

9:10 a.m.

The Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates says there’s little appetite to try to impeach the state’s embattled governor and that he should step down instead.

Speaker Kirk Cox repeated calls Monday for Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to step down because of a photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook that shows someone in blackface.

Northam denies being in the yearbook photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.

Asked whether lawmakers could seek to remove Northam, Cox said lawmakers would be hesitant to do so because it would amount to overturning an election. He said there would be a very high standard for removal. He said he hopes the governor steps down instead.

He said that “regardless of the veracity of the photograph the governor has lost the confidence of the people and cannot effectively govern.”

___

6 a.m.

Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, is clinging to office amid rising calls from within his own party to resign over a photo of someone in blackface in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

Northam denies being in the yearbook photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.

The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that Northam “still does not understand the seriousness of his actions.”

California Rep. Karen Bass, a fellow Democrat, says she thinks Northam is being “dishonest.” She has told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Virginia governor knew this picture was there and could’ve been open about it decades ago with African-Americans that he’s close to.

Northam worshipped Sunday at his home church, the predominantly black First Baptist in Capeville, but otherwise kept out of sight as calls intensified for him to step down.