As scandal engulfs Virginia’s leaders, Dems are speechless and Trump weighs in

As scandal engulfs Virginia’s leaders, Dems are speechless and Trump weighs in

With its historic ties to 19th-century USA minstrel shows in which white performers would caricature black slaves, blackface is widely seen as racist in modern America, though it remained a trope of popular television shows and movies through the 1980s.

Fairfax said Monday that the reports of him committing sexual assault are false and the encounter was "100% consensual".

If all three step aside, the next in line to be governor is the Republican House speaker.

With Virginia's top three elected officials engulfed in scandal, fellow Democrats were rendered practically speechless, uncertain of how to thread their way through the racial and sexual allegations and their tangled political implications.

Pressure on Fairfax intensified when his accuser, a college professor, released a statement alleging he had forced himself on her sexually in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

That radio interview is what reportedly motivated a medical school classmate of Northam's to tip the media off about the yearbook photo, triggering the current avalanche of recrimination.

Republican Del. David Yancey was tied with Democrat Shelly Simonds after all votes were counted in the 2017 Virginia election.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly: If all three Democrats resigned, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, accompanied by his wife Pamela Northam announces he will not resign during a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. February 2, 2019. "As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I can not endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page", Norment wrote, adding that he did not appear in or take any of the photos in question.

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Northam won the governorship in 2017, and Democrats made big gains in the state, in part because of a backlash against Trump, and has moved to within striking distance of a majority in both houses.

And while the United Kingdom has grown somewhat accustomed to furores around Donald Trump and the Republican party, this time it is Democrat politicians in the spotlight.

Within the last six days, Virginia's Democratic leadership has begun collapsing on itself after three of its high-level members were caught up in scandal after scandal.

Northam initially admitted and apologized for appearing in a medical school yearbook photo of two people - one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan attire. "It was really a minimisation of both people of colour and a minimisation of a horrific history I knew well even then".

Apologies by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring followed blackface appearances by celebrities such as actor Billy Crystal and late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon in recent years.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of "killing the Great State of Virginia".

Florida's Republican secretary of state, Michael Ertel, resigned on January 24 after the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper published photos from a Halloween party 14 years earlier showing him in blackface, wearing a T-shirt with the words: "Katrina Victim".

Herring's admission came after a meeting with the Virginia legislative black caucus, and before any unfortunate photos were dug up.

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