Virginia's Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statement Friday apologizing for his decision to appear in a racist photo published in his 1984 medical school yearbook, writing: "I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now."
The big picture: A page from Northam's yearbook, obtained Friday by The Virginian-Pilot, shows people wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan attire. In his statement, Northam did not offer to resign or identify which of the two people is him, but said he is ready to do the "important work" of healing the damage his conduct has caused. He later posted a video on Twitter again apologizing for his actions, and signaled that he would do everything he could to regain his constituents' trust "through the remainder of [his] term."
“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.
“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.
“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”