“Nearly four months after the photograph emerged, the onus remains on Governor Northam to deliver the answers he promised to the citizens he still seeks to serve.”
Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement Wednesday on the report from Eastern Virginia Medical School regarding the racist photo that appears on Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page:
“The report is entirely inconclusive and more questions remain unanswered than answered.
“When this photograph first emerged, Governor Northam admitted to being in the photo and accepted responsibility for its placement on his yearbook page. He then backtracked and promised the people of the Commonwealth answers. The report did not provide many answers. The report produced no substantive evidence to back up the Governor’s assertion that he is not in the photo and that he did not select it for the page.
“Nearly four months after the photograph emerged, the onus remains on Governor Northam to deliver the answers he promised to the citizens he still seeks to serve.
“We, along with the Legislative Black Caucus and Democrat leaders from across the state, called on the Governor to resign in February because it was clear then that the Governor had lost the confidence necessary to lead. Unfortunately, this report does nothing to restore the trust that was lost, and further solidifies the uncertainty surrounding this difficult and painful event.
“The Governor’s actions in the months that have followed, including the veto of bipartisan legislation to protect repeat victims of domestic abuse, have only served to confirm the lack of confidence. He put himself and his political rehabilitation ahead of survivors of domestic abuse, and we fear that he will continue to put those efforts ahead of his obligation to govern the Commonwealth.
“I am also concerned about what leaders at Eastern Virginia Medical School appear to have known with respect to the photograph. The report says that two Presidents of the institution were made aware of the photographs at the time of the governor’s previous campaigns. While it is unclear if they took any action to cover up the photo’s existence, it certainly appears that there was an effort to avoid public disclosure of such a racist photograph on the yearbook page of the most prominent alumni in school history.”