Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is facing widespread calls to resign in the wake his recent blackface scandal, drew even more ire on social media Sunday for referring to the first Africans brought to his state as “indentured servants.” While talking about the 400th anniversary of the first Africans’ arrival to his state, he attempted to sanitize the conditions that these Black people lived under.
Quickly, veteran journalist Gayle King served up a receipt from the history books and set him straight.
The CBS news anchor interrupted and pointed out that “indentured servant” was not the term applied to Black people during that time. She quipped, “Also known as slavery…”
Northam just can’t seem to get this “Black” thing right.
Northam is currently shrouded in criticism after photos from his medical school yearbook from 1984 emerged last week, showing someone wearing blackface posed alongside a person dressed as a KKK member. Northam initially apologized for the photo then he flipped the script saying it was not him in the picture. However, despite saying he was not in the picture, he did admit to having worn blackface during a dance contest, TIME reports.
In spite of calls from him to be 86’d from the political landscape, in his interview with King, which will air on CBS This Morning on Monday— Northam reiterates that he has no plans to resign.
“Right now, Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor. Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass,” Northam said. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere. I have learned from this. I have a lot more to learn. But we’re in a unique opportunity now.”
King also asked whether he thinks Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, should resign. Even though Fairfax has gone on record, stating that his contact with his accusers was consensual, in the interview Northam dances around the question.
“I can only imagine that it must take tremendous courage for women to step forward and and talk about these things that are just so hurtful. And these accusations are very, very serious,” he said. “They need to be taken seriously…
“If these accusations are determined to be true, I don’t think he’s going to have any other option but to resign,” Northam added.
But King pressed, “At this time, do you think he should resign?”
“That’s going to be a decision that he needs to make,” he responded.
King also asked if the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, should resign after he too admitted to rocking a blackface costume.
Northam once again avoid a direct answer, saying, instead, that he regrets that the “Attorney General is in this position but this is a decision that he’s going to need to make.”
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