Virginia Democrats reiterate calls for Northam, Fairfax to resign

Virginia rep calls on Northam to resign

Democratic Virginia Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton renewed their calls for Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to step down over their respective controversies. 

"I don't believe he can effectively lead the commonwealth at this time, understanding he's feeling contrition, but we need somebody who can address the wrongs of the past but take Virginia into the future," Wexton said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. Her comments come after Northam, a fellow Democrat, told "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Gayle King in an exclusive interview that he's "not going anywhere." 

Northam has been embroiled in controversy over revelations of a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page and his admission to wearing blackface when he was younger. Fairfax has been accused by two women of sexual assault and rape, which he has denied. Both have said they plan to remain in office despite calls for their ouster. 

Beyer agreed with Wexton, telling "Face the Nation" that Northam needs to step down despite his "reconciliation tour."

"The great confusion last weekend, whether he wasn't sure he was in the Klan robe or the blackface, has just sacrificed so much of his credibility and his ability to lead," Beyer said, referring to the photo in Northam's yearbook. "I respect him, I know he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and even his sense of moral compass, but he sacrificed so much of his ability to govern effectively."

When asked about Attorney General Mark Herring, who admitted last week to wearing blackface when he was a college student, Beyer and Wexton said the situations were different.

Rep. Don Beyer says Northam has "sacrificed so much of his credibility"

"The attorney general came forward proactively, is very regretful and contrite. He reached out to all the African-American leaders and other leaders, very heartfelt anguish about what he had done. But he's got a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the people of Virginia," Wexton said. 

Beyer agreed, saying Northam and Herring "both made dumb mistakes when they were young men" but that Herring appeared to be "remorseful" in his statements. 

Wexton and Beyer also agreed that the allegations against Fairfax are credible and said the Democrat should resign. 

"Elected leaders need to be held to a higher standard and where there are credible allegations — corroborated allegations — of serious sexual assault. We're talking about rape and forcible sodomy. This is something that impacts his ability to lead in future," said Wexton. 

"I believe both women. I see no reason why they would come forward. They have nothing to gain. There is no lawsuit. There's no money involved. These were all documented some years back. It wasn't created overnight and I believe the women and I think if you believe the women we have no call but to call for his resignation. No choice," Beyer added. 

Fairfax on Saturday reiterated he is not resigning and instead called on "all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me." 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital