Virginians split on support for Northam amid racist photo scandal

Support split for Northam amid racist photo scandal

Richmond, Va. — Virginians remain split on whether Gov. Ralph Northam should resign because of a racist picture that appeared on his medical school yearbook page. A Washington Post poll found 47 percent want him to stay and an equal number want him out.

But nearly six out of 10 African Americans still support the governor, the poll found. In Richmond, members of the African American community on Monday said they stand by Northam.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, Northam raised questions about his understanding of racial issues when he referred to slaves as "indentured servants."

"Just 90 miles from here in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now as Fort Monroe," he said, before King intervened, saying, "also known as slavery."

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In a statement released Monday, Northam said "a historian advised me that the use of indentured was more historically accurate" than "enslaved." He added "the fact is, I'm still learning and committed to getting it right."

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax showed up for work as he faces allegations of sexual assault.

"We have called for an independent investigation and I am still very confident in the truth," Fairfax said.

For now, he appears to have held off an impeachment push, as Virginia Democratic delegate Patrick Hope delayed his introduction of articles of impeachment, saying "additional conversations need to take place."

In an interview with the Washington Post, Fairfax again denied allegations by two women of sexual assault and rape.

"I am still standing up for everyone's right to be heard," he said. "But i'm also standing up for due process."

On "Face the Nation" Sunday, Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton said it was too late for that.

"This is not an issue where we need to prove something to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Elected leaders need to be held to a higher standard," she said.

CBS News confirmed that four of Fairfax's staffers have quit in the wake of the scandal. At the opening of proceedings Monday, Fairfax and state senators bowed their heads as a minister prayed in part that God "bring reconciliation, bring healing and bring a peace to this place."

The Richmond Times Dispatch first reported details of the departures.

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