Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday joined the chorus of public officials from both parties calling on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.
Northam (D) has resisted calls to step down after the revelation of a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page that shows a person in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood.
The Virginia governor apologized for the photo but later said it is not his and he does not know how it appeared on his page. In trying to explain himself, he acknowledged darkening his face with shoe polish when he portrayed Michael Jackson in a dance contest shortly after finishing medical school.
“It’s completely unacceptable,” said Hogan (R), adding that Northam has lost the ability to govern the state. “I’m sure he’s lost the confidence of the people of Virginia.”
Northam has refused to leave office, saying he wants to clear his name. On Wednesday, Richmond was further thrown into turmoil when Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who has announced he will run for governor in 2021, said he had dressed as a rapper and appeared in blackface during a college party when he was 19.
In response to a question later in the day, Hogan said he has never impersonated an African American or donned black makeup, actions that for many elicit painful associations with racist caricatures that date back centuries.
He called Herring’s long-ago action “outrageous” and said he was genuinely shocked at the controversy overtaking his state’s neighbor.