Former 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joined the chorus of Democrats on Saturday night calling for Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over a racist photo depicting one man in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan (KKK) garb on Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page.
Clinton retweeted a tweet from the Associated Press reporting that both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators— who are both Democrats— have called for Northam to step aside before saying herself that Northam “must resign”:
This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign. https://t.co/TjfS3vbcws
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 3, 2019
Northam first admitted Friday evening that he was in the photo, calling it “clearly racist and offensive.” But he later walked back that statement at a Saturday afternoon press conference when he denied appearing in the photo with the men wearing blackface and a KKK hood.
“Yesterday, I took responsibility for content that appeared on my page in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook that was clearly racist and offensive,” Northam told reporters. “I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo. It was offensive, racist, and despicable.
“I stand by my statement of apology to the many Virginians who were hurt by seeing the content on a yearbook page that belongs to me,” he continued. “It is disgusting, it is offensive, it is racist, and it was my responsibility to recognize and prevent it from being published in the first place.”
But later in the press conference, Northam admitted he “once darkened his face” to dress up as Michael Jackson at a dance contest in 1984.
Democrats and Republicans have called for Northam’s ouster in light of the photo.
Several 2020 Democratic presidential contenders— including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)— have called for Northam to step down.
Potential 2020 Democratic hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden have also called for Northam to step aside.
President Trump said in a statement Saturday after the Virginia governor’s press conference that Northam’s comments about the yearbook photo 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. Unforgivable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2019