The political crisis in Virginia escalated dramatically Wednesday when another top Democrat — Attorney General Mark Herring — admitted putting on blackface in the 1980s, when he was in college.
With Gov. Ralph Northam’s career already hanging by a thread over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, Herring issued a statement saying he wore brown makeup and a wig in 1980 to look like a rapper during a party as a 19-year-old at the University of Virginia.
Herring — who has been among those calling on Northam to resign — said he was “deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation.” He said that in the days ahead, “honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general.”
The 57-year-old attorney general issued the statement after rumors of a blackface photo of him had circulated at the Capitol for a day or more. But in his statement, he said nothing about the existence of a photo.
The disclosure further roils the top levels of Virginia government, which has been hit with one crisis after another since the yearbook picture came to light last Friday.
On Monday, Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would become governor if Northam resigned, was confronted with uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct dating to 2004. He denied the accusations, calling them a political smear.
Herring would be next in line to be governor after Fairfax. After Herring comes the speaker of the state House, Kirk Cox, a Republican.
I can't believe that Democrats would let the line of succession crumble like this all the way to letting a Republican run the state, but at this point they haven't exactly shown good judgment in the first place. Virginia Republicans should have a field day with their "See, Democrats are racist and misogynist too, just like Trump!" commercials heading into 2020.
And yes, it gets worse for Justin Fairfax today too.
The woman at the center of a sexual assault scandal involving Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is a Stanford University fellow scheduled to appear at a symposium next week on sexual violence and the #MeToo movement.
Professor Vanessa Tyson’s allegations, stemming from an interaction at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and the explosive political fallout echo those of Christine Blasey Ford, another university professor living in Palo Alto, who last year accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers.
Tyson’s Stanford colleague Jennifer Freyd told the Bay Area News Group on Tuesday that sometime last fall, at the start of their fellowship program, Tyson told Freyd and a couple of other colleagues about the 2004 encounter at the Boston convention. Freyd doesn’t remember whether Tyson named Fairfax, but said that she spoke about it while “illustrating a concept” they were discussing about sexual violence.
“It was not that remarkable in that many times I’ve sat with colleagues and they talked about being victimized and how it fits in with what we are talking about,” said Freyd, a University of Oregon psychology professor who is part of the same Stanford behavioral sciences fellowship program with Tyson.
No, it doesn't make Trump's Racism or misogyny any better. Fairfax's accuser should not be attacked for trying to bring him down, if she says it wasn't consensual, then it wasn't consensual. But we know Republicans will never hold their politicians accountable for stuff like this, and I'm hoping this isn't the end of the Democrats holding their side accountable either, or the party's in dire trouble.