U.S. President Donald Trump predicted Thursday the chaos engulfing the top three officials in Virginia, all Democrats, will help him recapture the coastal Atlantic state when he runs for re-election in 2020.
A racist photo from Northam's medical school yearbook page was made public on Friday by a conservative media website, showing a man in blackface standing beside a masked individual dressed in the hooded robe of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan. "This news flooded me with painful memories, bringing back feelings of grief, shame, and anger that stemmed from an incident with Mr. Fairfax that occurred in July 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston", Tyson wrote in a statement released through her legal team.
If all three Democrats stepped down, Republicans would take over the state's top offices.
The next person in line after Herring is House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican.
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".
"Mr Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions, and has threatened litigation", she said. But they were quieter as two more scandals - one involving race, another a sexual assault allegation - rocked Virginia's statehouse.More news: Meghan Markle's Besties Speak Out to Defend the Duchess
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Among those who called for Northam's resignation was Mark Herring, Virginia's attorney general who condemned the photo as "indefensible", "profoundly offensive" and "shocking and deeply disappointing". What do the governor's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't statements say about his judgment?
The school, Eastern Virginia Medical School, confirmed the photos authenticity.
Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams wouldn't call on the embattled trio of Virginia Democrats to resign in an interview Thursday, saying they should take "responsibility for their decisions".
At the same time, the Democrats nationally have taken a hard line against misconduct in their ranks because women and minorities are a vital part of their base and they want to be able to criticize Trump's behaviour without looking hypocritical - something Trump alluded to on Twitter. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted: "The past actions of Virginia's leaders are abhorrent, but many Republicans around the country are engaged in modern-day Jim Crow voter suppression". Explaining himself, Herring said he and his friends broke out the brown makeup and attended a party "dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow".
The congressional aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Tyson didn't personally share any of the details of her allegation against Fairfax - Scott only learned limited information about it through Post reporters, who contacted him a year ago at Tyson's request.
"I'm not privy to any plans, but I suspect he will step up and lead", said Republican Sen.
While almost the entire Democratic establishment rose up against Northam over the past week to demand he resign, party members did not call for immediate resignations over the two latest developments, which threaten to cause a political chain reaction that could make a GOP legislative leader the governor.