Controversial Virginia governor Ralph Northam vowed to stay in office on Sunday despite calls for him to resign. Northam told Gayle King of CBS This Morning that he plans to stay in place to help his state heal even as polls show divided support for the politician.
During his first televised interview since the scandal erupted over an image that allegedly showed Northam in a racist yearbook photo, the governor said that he believes he is the best person to lead the state during this time.
"Right now Virginia needs someone that can heal. There's no better person to do that than a doctor," Northam said.
Northam added that he has learned from the experience and says that makes him a better leader.
"Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage, and who has a moral compass," he added. "And that's why I'm not going anywhere. I have learned from this. I have a lot more to learn, but we're in a unique opportunity now."
As the Inquisitr previously reported, people on both sides of the aisle have been calling for Northam to resign as he faces intense backlash for the image, which shows two individuals: one dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member, and one in blackface. The photos appeared in Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook with the caption "Ralph Northam" above it. Northam initially apologized for the image, but later denied that he was either of the individuals in the photo.
The Democrat told King that he has considered resigning, but decided to stay in position.
"I have thought about resigning, but I've also thought about what Virginia needs right now," he said. "And I really think that I'm in a position where I can take Virginia to the next level and it will be very positive."Northam is in a particularly difficult situation given the controversy surrounding Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. As the Inquisitr reported previously, the Democrat is facing a scandal of his own after two women accused him of sexually assaulting them. State officials are urging Fairfax to resign.
Meanwhile, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface at a party in 1980.
All this comes as a recent poll shows that nearly 60 percent of African-Americans in Virginia want Northam to stay in office despite the scandal. According to Fox News, while black residents largely support the governor, the population overall is more divided, with 47 percent of people wanting him to stay and 47 percent of people wanting him to step down. The poll also found that 11 percent of Virginians admit to wearing blackface at some point or knowing someone who has.