Howard Dean calls for Northam to resign, rips GOP over 'double standard'

Howard Dean calls for Northam to resign, rips GOP over 'double standard'
© Getty

Former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean on Sunday called for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign, just days after a photo surfaced showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe on the governor's 1984 yearbook page. 

“I believe he’s a decent person but I think he has to resign. He just can’t be effective as a governor after something like this," Dean said on CNN's "Reliable Sources," adding that modern society is not going to "put up" with transgressions like this anymore. 


Dean's comments come as Democrats and Republicans call on Northam to step down over the racist imagery appearing in a yearbook from his time at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Northam now denies he's in the photo.

Dean has taken issue with the outrage from the GOP, though, and CNN noted he retweeted a message from former Obama-era health care administrator Andy Slavitt seeming to call out the party over its reaction. 

"If you’ve worn blackface or repeatedly said President Obama was born in Africa you should resign," Slavitt said, referencing the "birther" claim that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE promoted before taking office. In 2016, he renounced the conspiracy theory, saying Obama was born in the United States.

Dean said on CNN that he sees a "double standard" among "the Republicans."

“You know, they have no morals at all. I mean, you know, Republicans are happy to ask Ralph Northam to resign. They have a much worse guy who is heading their party," Dean said, referencing Trump. "It’s ridiculous.”

Northam apologized Friday after the picture surfaced, initially acknowledging that he appeared in the photo. But he said Saturday during a press conference that he believes he was not in the photo in question. 

"When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believed then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo," he said.

Northam has so far refused to resign despite calls to do so from lawmakers and advocacy groups such as the NAACP.