RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Ralph Northam clung to office Sunday amid nearly unanimous calls from his own party to resign over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, going silent after a bizarre 24 hours in which he first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it.
The Democrat’s stunning about-face — at a weekend news conference where he also acknowledged putting on blackface for a dance contest decades ago and appeared to briefly entertain the notion of doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk for reporters — only seemed to make things worse.
The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus declared that Northam “still does not understand the seriousness of his actions.” The photo shows someone in blackface and another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.
“I think he’s been completely dishonest and disingenuous,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ″He knew this picture was there, and he could’ve come clean and talked to African-Americans that he’s close to decades ago.”
Northam worshipped at his home church, the predominantly black First Baptist in Capeville, but otherwise kept out of sight on Sunday as calls intensified for him to step down.