The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the primary daily newspaper in Virginia’s capital city, is calling on Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign following the emergence of a racist yearbook photo he appeared in during his time in medical school.
The newspaper published an editorial on Friday night after Northam apologized in a statement. In a video released later Friday evening, Northam indicated he plans to serve out his term.
“The photograph reveals a lack of adult judgment that is disturbing. It does not erase Northam’s service in the military or his compassion as a physician. It does, however, strongly suggest that he should, for the good of Virginia, step down from its highest office and allow Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to succeed him,” the editorial reads.
The photograph of Northam, which was obtained by CNN, appears in the 1984 yearbook for Eastern Virginia Medical School. It shows one person in blackface and another dressed in the Ku Klux Klan’s signature white hood and robes. Northam did not say whether he was wearing the KKK outfit or blackface, but he confirmed he was in the photo, and said in a statement that the costume was “clearly racist and offensive.”
In the editorial, the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes that Northam has “served his nation and commonwealth with admirable distinction and dedication” but says his “poor judgment has undermined his standing with Virginians in ways that we believe will permanently impair his ability to act as an effective governor.”
Since the photo surfaced, several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have joined the calls for Northam’s resignation.