Ocasio-Cortez: Northam should resign, his defenders 'deserve scrutiny'
© Greg Nash

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhat to watch in New Jersey's primaries on Tuesday Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president MORE (D) joined the chorus of Democrats calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign on Saturday after a photo of men wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan robes was discovered to have been published on his medical school yearbook page.

Ocasio-Cortez called on Northam to resign Saturday evening following the governor's press conference hours earlier, during which Northam defied calls for his resignation even while admitting to wearing blackface in a Michael Jackson dance contest years earlier.

"Northam must resign, and those who try to help him stumble past this deserve scrutiny," the New York lawmaker tweeted.

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"If you can’t understand how painful + eroding this is to American society, let alone the state of Virginia, take some time to read up this weekend," she added. 

Ocasio-Cortez suggested Northam read "Between the World and Me" by author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who interviewed the New York Democrat at an event commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Though not a member of Virginia's congressional delegation, Ocasio-Cortez's call for Northam's resignation will likely carry some weight solely due to her massive Twitter following, currently at 2.74 million, which dwarfs every other member of the House including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Trump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House Five takeaways from PPP loan data MORE (D-Calif.), who has 2.17 million followers.

She joined dozens of other Democrats and left-leaning organizations calling for Northam's exit on Saturday, including 2016 presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSusan Collins signals she won't campaign against Biden Cuccinelli says rule forcing international students to return home will 'encourage schools to reopen' Clinton labels ICE decision on international students 'cruel' and 'unnecessary' MORE and both of Virginia's members of the U.S. Senate.

His lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, called on Northam to do what was best for the state in a statement Saturday night, while coming short of asking for his resignation.

“At this critical and defining moment in the history of Virginia and this nation, we need leaders with the ability to unite and help us rise to the better angels of our nature. I remain committed to serving and helping to heal the Commonwealth moving forward. Now more than ever, we must make decisions in the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia," Fairfax wrote.