Virginia Governor Ralph Northam apparently is not the only state official admitting to having dressed in blackface in the past — Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said on Wednesday that he too dressed in blackface during his college years, according to The Washington Post.
Democrats in Virginia and across the nation have already called upon Northam to resign.
“In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” Herring said in a statement. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”
“That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others,” said Herring, who last month had announced he intends to run for governor in 2021. “It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.”
It is unclear what the response from Democrats will be, but if the Northam situation is instructive, they will likely call for Herring to resign as well.
Herring is second in line to succeed the governor, should Northam step down, following Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D).
Fairfax is embroiled in his own scandal after sexual assault allegations were cast by “woman who said he sexually assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004” — allegations Fairfax has denied.
In the end, this entire situation could bode well for Republicans:
If Northam, Fairfax and Herring were all so compromised by scandal that they had to step down, and if no other successors had been appointed, the governor’s chair would fall to the Republican Speaker of the House, Kirk Cox (Colonial Heights).