Last Friday, oddly enough the first day of Black History Month, the yearbook from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 med school yearbook surfaced with Northam either in blackface or wearing KKK robes. Back when he was apologizing for his actions, he couldn’t remember which. Then he gave a press conference in which he denied he was in the pictures but admitted he had dressed up as Michael Jackson at least once. He steadfastly refused to entertain resigning.
At first, the Virginia Democrat establishment stood firm with him. By Sunday, as Northam looked more and more deranged, both of Virginia’s senators said he should step down. He held an emergency meeting of his staff yesterday evening and I was already preparing my Northam resigns post. But, even as Northam was meeting with advisers to discuss his future, a blockbuster hit at the same website, BigLeaguePolitics, where Northam’s pictures had first surfaced. This story concerned an allegation that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had sexually assaulted a young woman. As sexual assault can mean anything these days I feel compelled to clarify that by specifying that he forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Fairfax denied the story and threatened to sue anyone who mentioned it, but, along the way, he revealed that the Washington Post had known about the allegations and claimed they had vindicated him.
The Washington Post replied that no, they hadn’t vindicated Fairfax but, yes, Fairfax had admitted to having sex with the woman.
At this point, my schadenfreude gland was depleted and I was a limp mass on the floor. As one of my old bosses used to say, “I feel just like a monkey humping a skunk, I aint’ got all I want but I got all I can stand.”
Then everyone got their second wind.
NEW: An extraordinary day turns chaotic as Fairfax suggests Northam is behind "a smear" aimed at blocking his ascent to the governorship and recounts a sexual encounter with a woman he said was "very interested in me."
But she says it was assault >https://t.co/X9qPp1fmbV
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) February 4, 2019
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia emphatically denied on Monday a woman’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 2004, suggesting that Gov. Ralph Northam’s supporters were trying to block his ascent to the governorship at a moment when Mr. Northam is besieged by demands that he resign over charges of racism.
“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out?” Mr. Fairfax told reporters surrounding him in the rotunda of the state Capitol about whether he believes Mr. Northam, a fellow Democrat, was behind the accusation’s coming to light. He offered no evidence tying the Northam camp to the allegation.
An adviser to Mr. Northam, asked Monday if the embattled governor had been behind the revelation of the assault allegations, denied any responsibility and said the Northam camp did not have the capacity to plot such a move at a moment when Mr. Northam is struggling to retain his job.
Monday’s spectacle beside the Houdon-designed George Washington statue in the Capitol was extraordinary: Mr. Fairfax, a 39-year-old African-American, rebutting claims of sexual misconduct and suggesting the accusations were part of an effort by allies of Mr. Northam’s to salvage a governorship that is listing due to the racism that still scars Virginia.
If I were a chain smoker, I would have burned a couple of cartons while swabbing my sweaty forehead with a damp cloth as the spectacle unfolded.
The irony of the guy who made the Charlottesville mess a campaign issue and labeled Ed Gillespie a racist being accused of racism by his own lieutenant governor is nearly too much to bear.
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