Virginia Gov. apologizes for yearbook photo

Posted at 4:43 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 18:51:56-05
Northam Yearbook
Photo from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook.

RICHMOND, VA – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam apologized Friday afternoon, after picture from his medical school yearbook came to light that showed him in a racist costume.

Northam, a Democrat, apologized for what he called the “racist and offensive” costume and said he will work to heal the damage.

Several media outlets in Virginia posted the 1984 yearbook page, which includes a picture of one person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. It’s unclear which figure in the picture is Gov. Northam.

The page includes other pictures of Northam and lists his undergraduate alma mater and other information about him.

The Virginian-Pilot said it obtained a copy of the photo Friday from Eastern Virginia Medical School’s library. That is the medical school Northam attended. The photos were first published by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics.

Northam has recently come under fire from Republicans for supporting looser restrictions on late-term abortions.

Northam’s complete statement follows:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.

“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.

“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”