McAuliffe predicts Northam will resign as Virginia governor

McAuliffe predicts Northam will resign as Virginia governor
© Getty Images

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Sunday predicted Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) will resign following the revelation that his medical yearbook page contained a photo of a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

"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," McAuliffe said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Ralph is a good, moral, decent man. And may have made some mistakes in his past. We all have made mistakes. Ralph will do the right thing for the commonwealth of Virginia. He will put Virginia first. And I think that will happen relatively soon," continued McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman who is considering a run for president in 2020.


A blog called Big League Politics, followed by The Virginian-Pilot and other media on Friday, released a photo from Northam's 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page showing a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

While Northam originally appeared to acknowledge he was in the photo, he said Saturday, "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."

McAuliffe on CNN expressed disbelief that Northam could have been mistaken about whether he was in the photo.

"You know if you put black paint on your face," he said. "You know if you put a hood on. And so if it isn't you, you come out immediately and say this is not me."

He added that it does not matter whether Northam is in the photo and the governor still needs to resign in order to allow Virginia to move on.

"It doesn't matter whether he was in the photo or not at this point," McAuliffe argued on CNN. "We have to close that chapter. We have to move Virginia forward. Justin Fairfax, African-American lieutenant governor, will do a great job of bringing folks back together."

Northam has refused to resign despite calls to do so from McAuliffe as well as the DNC and other politicians and advocacy groups, including the NAACP.

McAuliffe told CNN he called Northam on Friday night, as well as tweeting publicly, and urged him to leave. He told CNN his message to his former lieutenant governor is "you've got to make the right decision. You've got to make the right moral decision. We have to bring people together."