Ralph Northam Reportedly Willing to Try Anything to Save His Job

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still hasn’t resigned, days after a photo emerged from his medical school yearbook showing two costumed men, one in blackface and the other in a Klu Klux Klan hood. We still don’t know which of the men, if either, was Northam. And neither, apparently, does he.

The calls for his resignation have come from across the nation and inside his home state of Virginia.

Advertisement

“We amplify our call for the Governor to resign,” the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said in a statement last Saturday. “He has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people he was elected to serve. Changing his public story now casts further doubt on his ability to regain that trust.”

But Northam is still holding out, and, according to the Washington Post, thinking about leaving the Democratic Party altogether.

From the Post:

But his assumption that allies would give him the benefit of the doubt contributed to Northam’s poor handling of the crisis over the photo, according to people close to the governor. And his shock at being so quickly discarded by the party has made it harder for Northam to accept the calls to resign, the people said.

Over the past several days, he has even toyed with the idea of leaving the Democratic Party and governing as an independent — a sign of the degree that he is isolated from every political ally, from his state party and from the national party.

Advertisement

What would this solve? Would the party stop calling for his resignation if he disowned it? What constituency of blackface-loving Independents is he hoping to appeal to?

In the meantime, the Post goes on to explain the baffling series of events that led to Northam’s decision not to resign over the past few days.

Advertisement

“I think it just really froze or rattled his mind,” a source who was with Northam the day the photo emerged told the Post. “His first inclination if someone feels hurt by something he’s associated with or did is to apologize.”

That sure seems like a good idea! However, best to first decide it really is you in the photo. Or, worst case scenario, it’d be good to mention in your statement that you don’t remember either way, but that it’s no excuse for the photo appearing on your yearbook page.

Advertisement

Northam did about half of that. He apologized for “the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo” before backtracking the following day. He then, according to the Post, decided he really didn’t think it was him in the photo, and that he should go out and tell the world, come what may.

From the Post:

Saturday morning, Northam told advisers that he was now confident that he wasn’t in the picture, and he wasn’t going to step down.

What’s more, Northam wanted to hold a news conference and take any and all questions the media could throw at him. Some advisers thought this was a bad idea, but they could not dissuade him, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Advertisement

This preceded the fateful press conference during which Northam admitted to donning blackface at another point during his college years, and very nearly demonstrated his ability to moonwalk.

“There will be a case study in bad political crisis management in this,” an associate of Northam’s told the Post. Yeah, no shit it will.

Advertisement

Since then, somehow, Northam has resisted the calls to resign, and is holding out to somehow either clear his name, or wait until the whole thing blows over.

“I know he is somebody of honor and integrity, and he is going to clear his name on this,” state Sen. Richard Stuart, Northam’s best friend, told the Post. “And I don’t think all the calls for resignation in the world are going to change him in that regard.”

Advertisement


Share This Story