Several Virginia Democratic lawmakers feel like they rushed to judgment against governor Ralph Northam and state attorney general Mark Herring.
“There were a lot of life lessons” learned from the wreckage in Richmond, said state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd). Chief among them? “Don’t rush to judgment.”
“I’m sorry we did,” said Howell, who also pilloried national Democratic leaders and presidential candidates for weighing in, early and sometimes loudly, on the Virginia situation. (“Ignore them,” Howell advised.)
State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st), who was among those to call for resignations only later to backtrack, acknowledged legislators were caught up in a media firestorm. “Statements were made before people even talked to the governor,” said Favola, who long has been an ally of Northam.
Because that’s what Virginia really needed as the cherry on top to this elaborate ice-cream sundae of embarrassment: an apology to Northam.
These Democratic lawmakers apparently believe they denounced Northam and Herring too hastily. To refresh, shortly after the yearbook photo of a person in blackface and another in Klan robes appeared, Northam initially offered and then quickly rescinded an apology for “the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo.” The following morning, Northam changed his story and claimed he was neither in blackface nor wearing the Klan hood, that he had no idea who was in the photo, that he had no idea how the photo ended up on his page in the yearbook, and that he had no idea how he got the nickname “Coon-man.” He then admitted wearing shoe polish on his face to imitative Michael Jackson in a dance contest — a strange tale that, intriguingly, no one has verified. During his infamous press conference, Northam said he only realized that darkening his face with shoe polish to resemble an African–American could be considered offensive during a conversation with a campaign aide during the 2017 campaign.
About a week later, Northam said that Herring should consider resigning because of his own experience with wearing blackface in his younger years.
Apparently he rushed to judgment, too.