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Head of Black Caucus Continues to Call for Northam's Resignation

Del. Lamont Bagby Craig Carper/WCVE News

The head of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus says the group is sticking with its calls for Governor Ralph Northam to resign ahead of a 2:30 PM Northam press conference this afternoon.

Northam said yesterday that the blackface and Ku Klux Klan costumes in the photo were “clearly racist and offensive,” but the AP and New York Times are now reporting Northam believes he was not in the photo in his medical school yearbook page. The Times reports that Northam is contacting lawmakers and former colleagues at medical school to verify that he was not in the costume. 

But Del. Lamont Bagby (D- Richmond), who heads the Black Caucus, said he hadn't from Northam today. He says the group had two separate meetings with the governor last night and emerged with a clear conclusion.

“He’s not in a position to govern, and he, in my humble opinion, has no other alternative but to resign,” Bagby said.

Bagby wouldn’t say why the caucus met twice with the governor.

“We let him know we were going to make our call for his resignation public,” Bagby said. "And we also let him know that any additional communications associated with that meeting--or those two meetings--we would reserve comment until he talked directly to Virginians.”

Groups and lawmakers across the political spectrum have called for Northam's resignation. 

Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker issued one of the most forceful statements so far this morning calling for Northam to step down.

“We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning - we have gotten word he will not do so this morning,” she said. "We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign. He no longer has our confidence or our support.”

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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