2020 Dems call on Northam to resign

2020 Dems call on Northam to resign
© Stefani Reynolds

Multiple Democratic presidential candidates came out Friday calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign over his appearance in a picture showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

"These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign," Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced Press: Democrats form circular firing squad MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced MORE (D-Calif.), another African-American running for president, said Northam should resign so Virginia can “move forward together.”

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“Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together,” she tweeted.

Other White House hopefuls who called on the governor to step down included Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenAbigail Disney: 'We're creating a super-class' of rich people Is Big Tech biased? The Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Juan Williams: Warren on the rise 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE (D-N.Y.) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.  

The photo, published by The Virginian-Pilot and other outlets on Friday evening, sparked immediate calls for the first-term governor to step down.

Northam released a statement apologizing for the photo and admitting he was in the picture, though he did not clarify if he was in blackface or wearing the KKK outfit.

The apology did little to quiet the outcry, with multiple Democratic and Republican lawmakers calling on the governor to step aside.

“These racist images are deeply disturbing. Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated, especially from our leaders— Republican or Democrat. Northam must resign,” Warren, who announced a presidential exploratory committee in December, told The New York Times.

Gillibrand, who announced earlier this month she would make a bid for the White House in 2020, initially wavered on if she though Northam should resign, but then changed her mind after she said she saw the picture for herself.

“There aren’t two sets of rules for our friends and our foes: Right is right and wrong is wrong. Americans deserve to be respected by their leaders, and racism cannot be excused in our government or anywhere else. Having seen the photo, I believe Governor Northam should resign,” she tweeted.

Castro, who is also a former San Antonio mayor, was the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for Northam’s ouster. 

“It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign,” he tweeted.

Northam was hit with a cavalcade of other Democratic politicians, operatives and groups calling for his resignation, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), the vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association who is set to lead the group in 2020.

The Virginia Democrat tweeted out a video Friday night in which he defied calls for his departure.

“I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust,” Northam said in the video posted to Twitter after multiple Democratic lawmakers and liberal groups called for him to step down. 

“I have spent the past year as your governor fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people. I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve.”