Northam holds staff meeting amid calls to resign: report

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Sunday reportedly called for an abrupt senior staff meeting as he faces calls to resign over a controversy involving a racist photo.

The Washington Post, citing interviews with people close to the governor, reported that the meeting is taking place currently and that Northam has not made a final decision on whether or not to resign. 

The meeting included senior staffers of color, The Post noted, adding that it is unclear who else is in the meeting. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, next in line to the governor, was not in attendance. 

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Northam has faced calls from Democrats and Republicans to resign over a 1984 yearbook photo surfaced showing a man wearing blackface standing next to another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam has apologized for the photo, but on Saturday denied that he was in it. 

Northam's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Northam spent most of Sunday at his family home and received conflicting messages from confidantes about if he should stay in his position, the Post reported. 

The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the matter, additionally noted that at least one senior staffer and one cabinet member have reached out to private firms about job prospects. 

First lady Pam Northam is reportedly urging her husband to remain in his position, according to the Post. 

Northam apologized on Friday after the image in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook first surfaced, saying the "behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service."

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But he said in a press conference on Saturday that he believes he was not in the photo that appeared in the yearbook. 

"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.

The Post reported that some supporters tried to track down evidence backing this claim on Sunday. 

Northam has faced calls to resign from a range of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including advocacy groups such as the NAACP. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) 

"Once that picture with the blackface and klansman came out there is no way you can continue to be the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia," Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Northam has so far refused to resign. State Sen. Richard Stuart (R) told The Post that Northam called him on Saturday night and said he intended to stay in his position.