Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Virginia NAACP Executive Committee defends Lt. Governor Fairfax amid sex assault allegations

Virginia NAACP Executive Committee defends Lt. Governor Fairfax amid sex assault allegations

It may be tough to believe it's been just a week and a half since a racist photograph in a decades-old medical school yearbook knocked Virginia's leadership into disarray. "I have a lot more to learn".

On FOX 5 On the Hill Sunday, Virginia NAACP Executive Committee Member Phillip Thompson said he thinks Fairfax deserves due process before resigning. "And that's why I felt so strongly about going in front of the camera on Saturday and clarifying".

In a CBS interview to be broadcast on Monday, Governor Ralph Northam said he had learned from the controversy that erupted on February 1 when a racist photo surfaced from his medical school yearbook, and that as a former pediatrician he could help Virginians heal.

Northam at first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it a day later, but acknowledged he once put shoe polish on his face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest in 1984.

Also Saturday, Northam made his first official public appearance since he denied being in the photo, attending the funeral for a state trooper killed in a shootout.

"African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia!"

This comes as Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring are embroiled in their own scandals. And now, Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, is following that high-stakes precedent.

Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would replace him if the governor left office. Several women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault, prompting many Democrats to call for his resignation.

"Also known as slavery", Gayle King said, interrupting him.

Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two USA senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM: And, you know, while we have made a lot of progress in- in Virginia, slavery has ended, schools have been desegregated.

Northam claimed Fairfax may not have "any other option but to resign" if the investigation into the allegations finds evidence of the assaults.

Two women allege Fairfax sexually assaulted them, and both have offered to testify if an impeachment hearing were called against him.

Northam, now a year into his four-year term, announced his intention to stay at an afternoon Cabinet meeting, according to a senior official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. "To do so, would violate any principles I have of faith that says a person can not change", he told AFP.

A lawyer for Meredith Watson, 39, said in a statement that Fairfax raped Watson 19 years ago while they were students at Duke University. Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.

Virginia Democrats, meanwhile, called on Fairfax to resign after a second woman accused him of sexual assault. Because it doesn't. To the contrary, every time Northam talks to a reporter, there's a serious risk - if not likelihood - that he'll say something false, absurd, assinine, tone-deaf, clueless and/or racially insensitive (at the minimum). He's a Republican, which is giving the Democratic officerholders another reason to try to keep their positions.

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