Northam: 'I'm not going anywhere' despite calls to resign

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Sunday that he has thought about resigning amid controversy over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page and an admission he wore blackface, but that he believes he can still make a meaningful difference as governor.

"Right now Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor," Northam told Gayle King of "CBS This Morning" in his first televised interview since the scandal broke.

"Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage, and who has a moral compass," he continued. "And that’s why I’m not going anywhere. I have learned from this. I have a lot more to learn, but we’re in a unique opportunity now."

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Northam acknowledged that it has been "a difficult week" for the state of Virginia and the country, and that he has heard calls for him to step down.

"I have thought about resigning, but I’ve also thought about what Virginia needs right now," he said. "And I really think that I’m in a position where I can take Virginia to the next level and it will be very positive."

Northam said his administration can take action with policy to address what he called "inequities" that have plagued the state and the country.

Virginia has been embroiled in controversy since earlier this month, when a photo emerged 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.

He has resisted calls for his resignation from state and national Democrats.

The state plunged further into turmoil days later when Attorney General Mark Herring (D) admitted he wore blackface when he dressed up as a rapper at a college party in 1980.

Meanwhile, state officials have urged Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) to resign after two women accused him last week of sexual assault. Fairfax has denied the allegations.

Northam on Sunday stopped short of calling for either Fairfax or Herring to resign.