Note: The photo in question is included in the bottom half of this article.
Calls for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign are coming from all sides of the political aisle following the report Friday that Northam appeared in a photo in his medical school yearbook that showed a man dressed in blackface and another person wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
Northam apologized Friday and vowed to mend the damage he’d caused with the photograph.
But he reversed himself Saturday, saying he does not believe he appears in the racist photo as he initially thought. The photo was included on Northam’s yearbook page from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984.
More: ‘I am not the person in that photo’: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam denies he was in racist image
The calls for him to step aside only heightened on Saturday, with President Donald Trump along with some of the nation’s top Democrats condemning the Virginia Democrat.
Trump wrote in a tweet that Northam’s actions were “Unforgivable!”
“Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, “I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo.” This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on “super” late term abortion.”
“There is no place for racism in America,” former Vice President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter. “Governor Northam has lost all moral authority and should resign immediately, Justin Fairfax is the leader Virginia needs now.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Washington, said on Saturday that Northam should leave office so those in his state could heal and move forward.
“The photo is racist and contrary to fundamental American values,” Pelosi said in a tweet. “I join my colleagues in Virginia calling on Governor Northam to do the right thing so that the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia can heal and move forward.”
The NAACP’s President and CEO Derrick Johnson agreed in a written statement, saying, “Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.”
Republicans and Democrats, including nearly every Democratic presidential contender in the 2020 race, joined together to call for his resignation.
“It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign,” Julian Castro, a Democrat running for president, wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Kamala Harris, another Democrat running in 2020, agreed.
“Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.
Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina who recently spoke out against Rep. Steve King’s remarks about white supremacism, also denounced Northam’s yearbook fiasco.
“To be clear, while a quick apology is good, it does not excuse the choices made by @GovernorVA as an adult enrolled in medical school,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “The people of VA will make their voices heard; I hope they will shout far & wide that there are consequences for such showcases of prejudice & hate.”
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both former Virginia governors, released a statement along with U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., after watching Northam’s press conference Saturday:
“We called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign. The events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy spoke out on “All in with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC Friday night. “We’re the party of Barack Obama, we’re the party of inclusion,” Murphy said.
Murphy described it as unacceptable behavior in 2019, and that it was just as unacceptable in 1984.
The incoming head of the Democratic Governors Association, Murphy said he speaks of Northam’s yearbook controversy with a “heavy heart.” “I know him and I believe he’s a good man,” New Jersey’s governor said.
Planned Parenthood tweeted a statement late Friday night telling Northam to resign.
Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, also weighed in, saying in a Saturday night tweet, “This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign.”
Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said Friday they are “still processing” the news.
In a statement issued Friday night, the caucus said “what has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible, and offensive.”
It went on to say that while the caucus has “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests,” members “are still processing what we have seen about the Governor.”
Virginia’s attorney general also called for Northam to resign.
Mark Herring said in a statement Saturday that it’s no longer possible for Northam to “lead our Commonwealth.”
The revelation of the yearbook photo comes at a particularly partisan time in Virginia. The state has been battling over a Democratic-led bill that would loosen restrictions on late-term abortions, allowing a woman to get an abortion well into the third trimester if the mother was physically or mentally at risk.
This week the bill failed to be voted out of committee but the uproar hasn’t stopped.
Contributing: Associated Press; Joshua Jongsma, North Jersey Record