NBC News commentators placed blame on President Donald Trump for the controversy facing Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
Last Friday, Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook entry went viral because it featured an image of a man in blackface with a man in a KKK hood and robe. The Democrat initially accepted responsibility and offered an apology. He then reversed course and claimed he did believe that the controversial image featured him at all. And during a press conference, he did admit to using blackface while dressing up as Michael Jackson.
On the Today Show, co-host Craig Melvin asked the panel why blackface seems “all of a sudden front and center in America again?”
Princeton University Professor Eddie Glaude Jr. responded by tying Northam’s scandal to the president.
“I think it has something to do with what Donald Trump has unleashed. It has something to do with the reservoir that’s underneath our politics that can always be activated at any moment,” Glaude Jr. explained. “So it’s not like it’s something new has happened. It’s always underneath. It’s the undertow.”
MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell agreed with the Princeton professor.
“You know, young children of color are dealing with kids saying, “‘Build the wall,’” Maxwell told the panel. “Donald Trump has normalized this overt display of racism.”
President Trump weighed in on the controversy rocking Virginia, calling Northam’s actions “unforgivable.”
Despite overwhelming calls for his resignation, Northam has been holding onto his office. There is also speculation whether he purposefully sabotaged his Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would likely take Northam’s place if he resigned, by reviving an uncorroborated sexual assault allegation from 2004.