Bernie Sanders: Northam should resign so Virginia can 'begin a new day'

Bernie Sanders: Northam should resign so Virginia can 'begin a new day'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.) on Saturday joined a chorus of liberal voices calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign after Northam acknowledged appearing in a photo showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe. 

“Gov. Northam should resign. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax should step in and begin a new day for Virginia,” Sanders tweeted Saturday morning. Sanders is reported to be considering a 2020 presidential bid. 

Northam saw his support within the commonwealth wither Friday night with mounting calls from members of his own party for him to resign after he admitted to appearing in the racist picture from medical school.

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Northam apologized on Friday and acknowledged 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. 

“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.

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

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

The governor, facing mounting calls for his resignation, dug in on Saturday, telling state party members that he has no intention of resigning.

“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. 

If Northam were to step down, it would mean Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia, would become governor, serving serving out the rest of Northam's term until 2021.