Northam says he wasn't in racist picture, won't be resigning


    Governor Northam during the press conference. (WSET)

    RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- During a press conference from the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Governor Ralph Northam denied being in a racist photo in his medical school yearbook and says he will not be resigning.

    During the press conference Saturday afternoon, Northam insisted he was not pictured in blackface or a KKK robe in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

    This goes against what the governor originally said when the photo came to light. On Friday night in a video posted to Twitter, Northam admitted to being in the picture and saying he was "deeply sorry" for his actions.

    But on Saturday, Northam repeatedly said he had "no recollection" of dressing up in that manner, and said his friends from medical school have backed him up on that.

    He did admit to wearing blackface while dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest on a separate occasion.

    Northam said he "didn't realize at the time" that dressing up as Michael Jackson was offensive, but recognizes that now.

    During the presser, which lasted over 30 minutes, Northam doubled down, saying he will not be resigning from the governorship.

    In another yearbook photo of Northam, it says his nickname is the racist phrase "Coonman."

    During the Saturday presser, Northam said two upperclassmen called him that, but he wasn't sure why.

    He added that he and his Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax talked extensively about the issue, and Northam said Fairfax was standing behind him.

    In the order of succession for Virginia, Fairfax would become governor if Northam were to step down.

    In response to his statement Saturday afternoon, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus has "amplified" their call for the governor to resign.

    In a statement released about halfway through the press conference, they said: "Yesterday we met with the governor, looked him in the eye and expressed our deep sense of betrayal, pain and disappointment."

    You can read the full statement below:

    You can watch the press conference in its entirety below:


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