Timeline: A very bad week in the life of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam


    Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, accompanied by his wife, Pam, speaks during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam continued to resist widespread bipartisan calls for his resignation Monday over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook that surfaced late last week.

    The growing pressure for the Democratic governor to step down comes after a damaging week in which Northam struggled with the political fallout from controversial comments on third-trimester abortions and unanswered questions about the decades-old photo.

    Monday, Jan. 28, 2019

    During a hearing, Republican House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert asks Democratic Del. Kathy Tran if legislation she introduced that would loosen restrictions on third-trimester abortions would allow a pregnancy to be terminated while the mother is in labor. Tran replies, “My bill would allow that, yes.” A subcommittee votes to table the legislation.


    Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019

    A video circulates on social media of Gilbert and Tran’s exchange, stirring anger among conservatives and anti-abortion groups.


    Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019

    10 a.m. Gov. Ralph Northam appears on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program. Referring to a fetus that is not viable or has “severe deformities,” Northam says, “The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

    12:06 p.m. Republican social media strategist Caleb Hull tweets a video clip of Northam’s answer, commenting, “So to sum things up... @GovernorVA is thinks it's okay to kill a baby once it's fully delivered. Disgusting.”

    2:04 p.m. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., retweets Hull, adding, “I never thought I would see the day America had government officials who openly support legal infanticide.” Many other Republican lawmakers, party officials, and activists share the video and make similar comments throughout the afternoon and evening. Some, including Sen. Ben Sasse, call for Northam to resign.

    7:27 p.m. The Daily Caller reports details from an Oval Office interview with President Donald Trump in which Trump says he was “surprised” by Northam’s comments but he believes they reflect his campaign warning that “Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb.”

    8:21 p.m. Gov. Northam responds directly to critics on social media, stating, “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.” His office issues additional statements to the press aimed at clarifying his WTOP remarks and insisting he does not support killing live babies.

    Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

    8:36 a.m. President Trump tweets, “Democrats are becoming the Party of late term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!”

    3:40 p.m. Northam gathers with applauding Democratic state lawmakers for a press conference to “set the record straight” on his stance on reproductive health, again disputing Republican claims he was endorsing infanticide.

    Friday, Feb. 1, 2019

    2 p.m. Big League Politics reports a photo in Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook shows “Northam and a friend,” with one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe. The yearbook does not identify either person in the photo, but it is on Northam’s personal page with pictures of himself he submitted.

    3 p.m. The Virginia Republican Party tweets the Big League Politics story, stating, “@GovernorVA needs to explain this immediately.”

    4:30 p.m. The Washington Post and other media outlets begin reporting they have confirmed the Big League Politics story. Reports also emerge in the late afternoon that Northam’s Virginia Military Institute yearbook appears to list “Coonman” as his nickname.

    6:15 p.m. Northam’s office issues an initial statement in which he says, “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.”

    7:07 p.m. Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro calls for Northam to resign over “racist and unconscionable behavior.” Soon after, another candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, urges Northam to resign. Several other Democratic lawmakers issue similar statements.

    8:35 p.m. Northam releases a 1:13-second video, saying, “That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect the person I am today I accept responsibility for my past actions and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.” Despite growing calls for his resignation, he says he intends to serve the rest of his term.

    Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019

    Morning: Media outlets report Northam is calling medical school classmates to see if they remember the photo and telling Democratic officials he does not believe he is either of the people in the photo, despite his statement the previous night.

    2:40 p.m. Northam holds a press conference in which he says he does not believe he is in the “disgusting” photo. He also acknowledges he put on blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume to participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in 1984.

    Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019

    7:39 a.m. President Trump tweets, “Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, ‘I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo.’ This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on ‘super’ late term abortion. Unforgivable!”

    Morning: Prominent Democrats, including former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, appear on Sunday morning talk shows and renew calls for Northam to resign.

    Evening: Northam meets with senior staff to discuss his future, but no decisions are made. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would replace him if he steps down, is reportedly not present.

    Monday, Feb. 4, 2019

    Morning: Northam meets with Cabinet members and other officials amid continued calls for his resignation. No immediate announcements are made.


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