U.S. state governor vows to stay in office despite blackface photo

Virginia governor Ralph Northam's yearbook page shows men in KKK hood and blackface

McAuliffe and Northam have not talked on Saturday, a source told CNN. We will bring you updates as they become available.

Kamala Harris, the California senator who announced this week she will run for president in the 2020 Democratic Primary, said Northam should step down as "Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government". In a statement on the school's website, President Richard Homan said the photo "absolutely antithetical" to the school's principles, morals, and values. Now more than ever, we must make decisions in the best interest of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Cooper called Northam's resignation "the only way forward".

Northam said if he felt he wasn't able to function efficiently as governor, he would re-visit the matter.

Mr Northam said at a news conference that he had prematurely apologised for appearing in a picture of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

However, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin tweeted Saturday morning that Northam now believes he may not be in the photo and does not want to resign before determining who the people in the picture are.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, also called on Northam to step down.

After the photo surfaced Friday, Northam released an apology acknowledging that he appeared in the photo, which showed one man in blackface and another dressed in KKK garb. It's unclear who the people in the picture are, but the rest of the page is filled with pictures of Northam and lists his undergraduate alma mater and other information about him.

Fox News obtained a copy of 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

The Democrat was not authorized to speak on the record to detail a private conversation.

The photo, which was revealed on Friday, shows two men, one in a Ku Klux Klan robe and another in blackface, on Northam's medical school yearbook page in 1984.

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Northam's press conference appears unlikely to quell the growing pressure from within his party for him to resign.

Beyer said the image "opened wounds that I fear are beyond his capacity to heal".

On Saturday morning, while a small group of protesters stood outside the Virginia governor's mansion, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders joined the chorus insisting on Northam's resignation.

The governor apologized Friday for the "clearly racist and offensive" photo, taking responsibility in "the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now".

Other prominent black political figures called on Northam to resign Friday night, including Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries.

Ralph Northam is facing calls to resign from both sides of the aisle after a picture showing him and another person dressed in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) outfit emerged on February 1.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

The Virginia legislative black caucus (VLBC) urged Northam to resign, after meeting with him on Friday.

Northam is calling Virginia Democrats to try and gain support. His refusal to step down could signal a potentially long and bruising fight between Northam and his former supporters.

Before he was elected governor, Mr Northam served for a decade as a Virginia state legislator.

Singer and actor John Legend tweeted: "What a poetic ending it would be for the black Lt. Gov to take over for the KKK cos-play governor", he said, referring to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

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