Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Gov. Ralph Northam calls slaves ‘indentured servants’ in Gayle King interview

Gov. Ralph Northam calls slaves ‘indentured servants’ in Gayle King interview

The Virginia governor told King that he would support an investigation into the accusations and "if these accusations are determined to be true, I don't think he's going to have any other option but to resign".

Another possibility: Fairfax simply hangs on as he disputes the allegations.

Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault, including rape by one of the women.

Northam's assertion defies the condemnations issued recently by prominent Virginian politicians on both sides of the aisle - many of whom have also called on Fairfax, who is black, to step down for very different reasons. Among African-Americans, 58 percent believe he should remain governor, while just 37 percent say he should step aside. "I want to stand here in that truth and restate that my truth, as well as the truth of Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson, should be fully investigated and thoroughly assessed", Fairfax's statement said, also calling on the FBI to "investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me".

A second woman, Meredith Watson, has accused Fairfax of rape in 2000.

The disgrace tarnishing the top elected officials could sour voters on Democrats in an election year in which every General Assembly seat is up for grabs, likely helping Republicans hold on to a thin majority.

State Democratic House of Delegates member Patrick Hope has said he will introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday unless the lieutenant governor resigns. At that point, Gayle King jumps in again, explaining to the clueless Northam that that's "because you're a doctor!".

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"It's obvious from what happened this week that we still have a lot of work to do", he said in an interview with The Washington Post on Saturday. "And these accusations are very, very serious", he said.

Now a California college professor, she says Mr Fairfax forced her to perform a sex act on him during the 2004 Democratic political convention in Boston.

He's denied being in the photo but has admitted to wearing blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume that same year. Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of getting Senate Pro Tem Steve Newman to serve as both a voting senator and temporary lieutenant governor.

The tumult in Virginia began late last week, with the discovery of the photo on Northam's yearbook profile page that showed someone in blackface standing beside another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

Most of Virginia's Democratic Congressional delegation and prominent national Democrats, including 2020 presidential candidates, called for the governor to resign after the racist photograph surfaced. The Northam episode has shown "that Sweet Old Dixie is still around", Minor, 44, said, using a nickname for the Southern states of the Confederate era.

Northam said he had been especially affected by a conversation with a black lawmaker, whom he declined to name, on the topic of blackface.

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