Tennessee governor says he regrets wearing Confederate uniform at college frat party

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Thursday said he regrets wearing a Confederate uniform to a college party nearly 40 years ago.

The Associated Press reported that Lee joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity at Auburn University when he was 17. The fraternity hosted an annual "Old South" party where members dressed in Confederate uniforms.

A spokeswoman for the governor confirmed that Lee appears in a photo in the university's 1980 yearbook wearing a the uniform.

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“While I never intentionally acted in an insensitive way, with 40 years of hindsight, I have come to realize that was insensitive and have come to regret that,” Lee, who was sworn in last month, told the AP.

He later said through a spokeswoman that he has never worn blackface, nor has he attended events since college that would be considered racially insensitive.

Lee's acknowledgement of the photo comes as two top officials in Virginia have been embroiled in scandal over admissions they wore blackface decades ago.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has resisted calls from state and national Democrats to resign after a photo emerged earlier this month from Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page showing two individuals, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

The governor initially apologized for appearing in the photo, but later insisted he was not in the image. He did acknowledge that he once wore blackface to dress up like Michael Jackson.

Days later, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he wore blackface as part of a costume in college. Herring has also remained in his position.