[guest post by Dana]
While Gov. Northam refuses to resign from office in spite of increasing pressure from leading Democrats for him to do so, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, in line to succeed Gov. Northam, is currently fighting a sexual misconduct allegation made by a professor at Scripps College. Fairfax reportedly was pretty ugly when he attempted to discredit his accuser during a private meeting. Now we are learning that Attorney General Mark Herring, who would be next in line to be governor after Fairfax, made a preemptive move this morning by admitting that he too wore blackface while in college some 40 years ago:
I am sure we all have done things at one time or another in our lives that show poor judgment, and worse yet, have caused some level of pain to others. I have a glaring example from my past that I have thought about with deep regret in the many years since, and certainly each time I took a step forward in public service, realizing that my goals and this memory could someday collide and cause pain for people I care about, those who stood with me in the many years since, or those who I hoped to serve while in office.
In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” Herring said. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.
This was a one-time occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct.
“Although the shame of that moment has haunted me for decades, and though my disclosure of it now pains me immensely, what I am feeling in no way compares to the betrayal, the shock, and the deep pain that Virginians of color may be feeling. Where they have deserved to feel heard, respected, understood, and honestly represented, I fear my actions have contributed to them being forced to revisit and feel a historical pain that has never been allowed to become history.
“This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.
Interesting that Herring couldn’t bring himself to say “blackface” in his statement. Rather he used the almost innocuous “brown makeup” instead. Preemptively politicking with a sly choice of non-inflammatory words and sidestepping blunt accuracy before his hopeful ascendancy to governorship – whether in 2019 or 2021 – demonstrates that he’s fairly practiced at this game.
As a reminder, just four days ago, Herring called on Northam to resign:
It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth
If the three executives facing various scandals found themselves out of office, then next up to bat would be Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.
P.S. The New York Times is torn. Circle the wagons or be honest: