Transcript: Rep. Don Beyer on "Face the Nation," February 10, 2019

Virginia Dem: Northam "sacrificed" credibility

The following is a transcript of the interview with Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia that aired Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: For some more perspective we turn to Virginia Congressman Don Bayer- Beyer who also served as the commonwealth's lieutenant governor. You jinxed me there congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE DON BEYER: I'm sorry, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm sorry I mu- muddled your name there. You heard the conversation we just had with Congresswoman Wexton and with Gayle King. Do you agree? Do you think that the governor still needs to step down?

REP. BEYER: I do. And- and I think that just the- the great confusion last weekend where he wasn't sure whether he was in the Klan robe or the blackface, has just sacrificed so much of his credibility and his ability to lead. You know, I know he's determined to go on this reconciliation tour but I think he should do that as a private citizen, rather than as the governor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You don't think because of this experience, as he argued in that interview with Gayle, that he can now have the authority to reach out in a significant way on racial issues?

REP. BEYER: Well I know that's what he wants to do. And I- I respect him. I know he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and- and even his sense of what he called his moral compass. But he sacrificed so much of his ability to govern effectively. Figured the Legislative Black Caucus in Richmond, the Congressional Black Caucus on the Hill, virtually every African-American leader I know, has said that he needs to resign and thePost poll that we've talked about before one of things we missed is that 40 percent of black Virginians think he shouldn't remain. That's- that's a damning number for a Democratic governor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The governor's a peer of yours. Do you think that the-the time, the place, the context of any of this should be considered in placing judgment on him?

REP. BEYER: Yes it should. And I think that's one of the differences between Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring. They both made dumb mistakes as young men. Governor Herring though, or Lieutenant Attorney General rather, has been incredibly remorseful, very simple, took it very responsibly. The way our- my- Governor Northam handled the first couple of days was confusing, even bizarre. And he's also in a different role. The attorney general is- runs the state's largest law firm, whereas the governor really has to be the role model for more than eight million people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know Attorney General Herring who you just brought up also admitted to having worn blackface at one point. If he resigns, the next in line is a Republican.

REP. BEYER: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Cynics would look at this and say the calculus to not be as harsh on the attorney general is influenced by that.

REP. BEYER: Yeah but I don't think that's actually true. There- there are cynics who say this is about the next election. But I think it's much more about values. We would move from a progressive, very strong attorney general to someone, who is not just a Republican, but someone who is on the arch conservative end of it. So the way our laws would be administered Virginia would be completely different. This isn't about party politics, is the messages about the kind of Virginia that we want.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now the Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, now two of the accusers have said that they would publicly testify should there be impeachment proceedings. There was no formal investigation here. Does one need to happen?

REP. BEYER: I don't really know how that happens. I mean, maybe the impeachment proceeding does that. I know the Lieutenant Governor has called for an FBI investigation--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REP. BEYER: We'll see anyway that particularly happens. You know this whole notion of how do you adjudicate guilt here is very difficult. 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- no call but to call for his resignation. No choice.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right Congressman thank you very much for giving us your perspective.

REP. BEYER: Thank you Margaret.