Pelosi adds pressure on Northam as calls for resignation build

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to “do the right thing” following a photo that surfaced Friday showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe. 

“The photo is racist and contrary to fundamental American values. I join my colleagues in Virginia calling on Governor Northam to do the right thing so that the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia can heal and move forward,” Pelosi tweeted Saturday, stopping short of calling directly for his resignation.

Northam early Saturday told state Democrats that he would not resign, despite facing overwhelming calls for him to step down.

The Democrat apologized on Friday for the photo, initially acknowledging that he appeared in the picture from his medical school yearbook, though he did not clarify if he was wearing blackface or the KKK robe.{mosads}

“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” he said in a statement.

However, he appeared to backtrack Saturday, reportedly telling at least one Virginia Democrat that he does not believe he is in the picture. 

“We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning — we have gotten word he will not do so this morning,” the Virginia Democratic Party said in a statement Saturday.

“We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign. He no longer has our confidence or our support. Governor Northam must end this chapter immediately, step down, and let Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax heal Virginia’s wounds and move us forward,” the party added.

A cavalcade of national Democrats and several 2020 presidential candidates issued calls on Friday and Saturday for Northam to resign.

The photo, reported by The Virginian-Pilot on Friday, came from a 1984 yearbook housed in the Eastern Virginia Medical School library.

Another page in the yearbook showed that Northam listed the nickname “coonman,” a racial slur, underneath his yearbook entry.

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