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Ralph Northam on Yearbook Blackface: ‘I Understand How This Decision Shakes Virginians’ Faith’

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement Friday, after Big League Politics published a yearbook photo in which Northam and a friend posed in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan hood.

(READ: Ralph Northam Refused To Shake His Black Opponent’s Hand; Black Man E.W. Jackson Said His Behavior Is ‘Consistent’)

Here is Northam’s statement:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.

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I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.

This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their governor.”

But Northam has shown a disturbing pattern of behavior.

Northam refused to shake the hand of his black opponent E.W. Jackson during a 2013 televised debate in the Virginia lieutenant governor’s race.

E.W. Jackson, his black opponent, said that Northam is “consistent” in his behavior, and not shaking his hand was just evidence of that.

“It was insulting, but, on the other hand, I thought it was consistent with the way he behaves. Because, this spot he’s been running, saying that I believe that a child born with birth defects is born that way because of their parents’ sin is just a damnable, palpable, despicable lie. I don’t believe that. I never said anything like that. And it’s that kind of dishonesty that, to me, says this is not the kind of person that needs to be holding state-wide office. Not shaking my hand really just confirmed that,” E.W. Jackson said in an interview on WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall.

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