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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who has denied accusations of sexual assault from two women while rebuffing calls to step down, compared himself to Jim Crow-era lynching victims during an impromptu speech in the state Senate on Sunday, the AP reports.

The big picture: After his speech as he presided over the end of the 2019 Senate session, "stunned senators sat in awkward silence," per the AP. It came just days after state Republicans proposed their plan to hold a public hearing for Fairfax and his accusers — Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson — to testify regarding the claims.

Fairfax's full quote, via the AP:

"I’ve heard much about anti-lynching on the floor of this very Senate, where people were not given any due process whatsoever, and we rue that. And we talk about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those very same auspices. And yet we stand here in a rush to judgment with nothing but accusations and no facts and we decide that we are willing to do the same thing."

Go deeper: A global male leadership crisis

Go deeper

42 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.