Virginia governor Ralph Northam sorry for blackface, KKK photo

Del. Kathy Tran at the Capitol in Richmond on Wednesday

Del. LaMont Bagby, a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus told CNN Saturday that during their meeting with Northam Friday night, that the governor could not recall when the racist photo was taken that appeared in his medical school yearbook.

That came after the Virginia Democratic Party tweeted that it had received word that Northam would not be resigning over the photo as they believed he should.

Northam called several state Democratic officials to say that he isn't one of the men in a photo from his university yearbook depicting two people - one in blackface, the other dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, according to various USA media reports.

The photo appears on a page labeled "Ralph Shearer Northam" alongside other pictures of Northam, including a headshot, a photo of him kneeling in a cowboy hat, and another of him sitting next to a Corvette.

The page features a photograph of a person in blackface and another in full Ku Klux Klan garb.

Despite the increasing calls for him to resign, Northam also told the source he is not going to step down, which comes ahead of his planned statement to the media Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET from the Executive Mansion in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate.

Gina Raimondo, the head of the Democratic Governors Association and Governor of Rhode Island, also called for Northam to resign. Northam said he did not buy a yearbook and knew nothing about the photos until they were shown to him.

The Democratic governor said he had never even seen the yearbook before Friday and that he was blindsided by what was on his page.

"It has taken time to make sure that it's not me but I'm convinced I'm not on that photo", he said.

But racial justice groups, civil rights leaders, and fellow Democrats are among those saying that an apology won't be enough and that Northam should step aside immediately. The photo shows a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Northam is under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to resign after admitting that he is one of two men that appeared in an old photograph, one in blackface and the other dressed in a KKK robe.

Governor Northam has questioned whether one of the two individuals wearing racist costumes in an old yearbook photo was really him.

Northam was calling state lawmakers Saturday to try and gain support so he could remain in office, the Democrat said. "In light of his public admission and apology for his decision to appear in the photo, he has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people he was elected to serve", the caucus said in a statement.

Several Democratic candidates who are running in the 2020 presidential election also showed strong criticism toward Northam's surfaced photo. However, they were at a loss to explain how a mix-up might have occurred that would result in the racist image being placed on his page in error, because students were responsible for submitting their own photos.

"I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia", he said, adding that resigning would be the easier way out.

Added former US housing secretary Julian Castro: "This behaviour was racist and unconscionable". R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, issued the following statement today calling for Governor Ralph Northam's resignation.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement late Friday saying "we feel complete betrayal" and are "still processing" the pictures.

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