BUT WOULDN’T SHAKE BLACK OPPONENT’S HAND FOUR YEARS PRIOR
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 3, 2019) — On the night of his election victory on November 7, 2017, then Virginia Governor-Elect Ralph S. Northam, a pediatric neurologist and former Virginia state senator and lieutenant governor, celebrated the results by telling his supporters, “Today, Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness; that we will not condone hatred and bigotry…”
“It’s going to take a doctor to heal our differences,” Northam said. “I’m here to let you know that the doctor is in and this doctor will be on call for the next four years.”
On that night, The New York Times crowed about Democrats’ victories in the Commonwealth of Virginia and state of New Jersey, where Phil Murphy won the governorship after Republican Chris Christie left office after eight years.
“The Democratic Party’s crowning success of the night came in Virginia, where Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, an understated physician and Army veteran, won a commanding victory for governor, overcoming a racially charged campaign by his Republican opponent and cementing Virginia’s transformation into a reliably Democratic state largely immune to Trump-style appeals,” The Times wrote.
Northam’s opponent was former RNC director Ed Gillespie, who Northam accused of racism during the campaign.
Other victories that night included seats in the Virginia legislature and a New Hampshire mayoral contest, The Times reported.
Northam succeeded longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe. Virginia law allows a governor to serve one four-year term.
“Mr. Northam, 58, is a moderate member of his party in a state rapidly leaving behind its Southern roots, but which is still troubled by its long racial shadows,” The Times further expounded on Election Night 2017.
On Friday afternoon, a photo from Northam’s medical-school 1984 yearbook depicted Northam in three photos: the first in which he wore a jacket and tie; a second in which he is positioned next to a custom car, and the third where he is wearing a cowboy hat.
A fourth photo is of two unidentified individuals, one of whom bears a blackened face and costume and the other is clearly dressed in the white robe of a Ku Klux Klan member. The caption under the photo reads, “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”
Northam attended Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, which has since pledged to conduct an investigation into all yearbook content, a pop-up notice on its website reads.
The Klan was founded on Christmas Eve 1964 in Pulaski, TN and is responsible for the deaths of both whites and blacks as a result of Southern Reconstruction, History.com reported. “Most prominent in counties where the races were relatively balanced, the KKK engaged in terrorist raids against African Americans and white Republicans at night, employing intimidation, destruction of property, assault, and murder to achieve its aims and influence upcoming elections,” the website reads. “In a few Southern states, Republicans organized militia units to break up the Klan…”
Jackson had been critical of Barack Obama, The Washington Post reported on Election Night 2013. The paper also reported that Jackson said that “Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.”
During a Wednesday radio show which went viral on the web on Thursday, Northam described what he saw as the aftermath of a late-term abortion during a woman’s delivery, an aspect of a proposed bill which was defeated in committee the same week. “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said.
In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Northam said he will not resign among calls from McAuliffe, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Joseph Biden, and Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, to step down. Others calling for his resignation are MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood, the latter of which strongly supported Northam’s governor race.
While first apologizing twice on Friday night for the photo and appearing to admit that he appeared in it, on Saturday Northam claimed that he depicted neither costumed character after speaking with a number of medical-school colleagues. He said he did, however, recall blackening his face as an entrant in a 1984 San Antonio dance contest in which he attempted to portray Michael Jackson.
On October 18, 2017, The Washington Examiner reported that Northam’s campaign “deleted his black running mate from his campaign fliers.” “Northam, the sitting lieutenant governor, removed a picture of Justin Fairfax on palm cards at the request of a labor union that supports him but opposes the lieutenant governor candidate,” The Examiner wrote.
While The Times reports Northam as a lifelong Virginia resident other than while in military service, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a “Dr. Ralph Shearer Northam” of “San Antonio, Texas” was the best man at a September 21, 1985 wedding in Fredricksburg, VA for “Thomas Long Northam.”
On Friday Northam said he “doesn’t regret” his comments on the now-defunct abortion bill. When questioned by some in the media, many Democrats now calling for his resignation over the photo said they were unaware of Northam’s remarks on the abortion issue.
On his Twitter account, Northam claims he is “a defender of Virginia values.”
Should Northam eventually resign or be removed from office, Fairfax would become governor.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.