- In an apparent about-face, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has told state Democrats that he does not believe he appears in the racist photo he earlier apologized for, according to multiple reports.
- Northam is considering using facial recognition software to exonerate himself, The New York Times reported.
- Several Democrats and Republicans have urged Northam to resign.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on Saturday that he didn’t believe he appeared in a racist photo that prompted widespread calls for his resignation, according to The New York Times.
The photo, from an Eastern Virginia Medical School’s 1984 yearbook page, shows one person in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan-style robe and hood. The photo, first published by conservative blog Big League Politics on Friday, went viral and prompted numerous calls for Northam’s resignation from Republicans and Democrats.
In phone calls on Saturday morning, Northam told state Democrats he could not remember the image and planned to say he did not think he wore either costume, according to a Times source identified as a Virginia Democrat.
Previously, Northam had admitted to being in the photo. Northam apologized late-Friday in a video posted on Twitter for “behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me.”
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” he said.
According to the Times, Northam is now considering using facial recognition software to prove that neither person in the photo was him.
He’s also refusing to resign amid calls from across party lines and protests outside the Governor’s Mansion. Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris — both African-American candidates for president in 2020 — were among the several members of Congress who called on Northam to quit.
“We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning – we have gotten word he will not do so this morning,” the Democratic Party of Virginia tweeted on Saturday.