Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia has been at the center of multiple firestorms this week that may permanently damage his reputation, Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti argued Friday.
Earlier in the day, a page from Northam’s 1984 yearbook at Eastern Virginal Medical School showed two people -- one in blackface, the other wearing a KKK hood and robe. Northam, a Democrat, issued multiple apologies -- but never specified which costume had him underneath.
The timing couldn't have been worse: Earlier in the week, he faced major backlash when remarks he made in response to a fellow Virginia Democrat's late-term abortion bill had critics accusing him of defending ‘infanticide.’
During Friday's "Special Report" All-Star panel, Continetti -- along with Democratic strategist Leslie Marshall and national security adviser Morgan Ortagus -- weighed in on the fallout Northam faces going forward.
“Well it’s never a good day for a politician when you’re confronted with the yearbook photo and the Washington, D.C., community in your state is trying to figure out whether you’re the one in blackface or the one under the Klan hood," Continetti said. "This is a terrible end of the week for Northam, a week that didn’t start well either with his comments ... Northam seemed to be defending, in that radio interview, post-birth abortion, otherwise known as infanticide. This is a political career in a death spiral.”
While uncertain whether Northam would step down, Marshall called the photo “highly offensive.”
“If we’re going to have a zero-tolerance policy in politics in today of 2019, that has to be zero tolerance whether you’re a governor in Virginia, whether you’re a congressman like Steve King, there has to be a zero tolerance and it can’t just be Republicans asking for him to resign. It has to be Democrats,” Marshall said.
Meanwhile, Ortagus called for Northam to resign, telling the panel that there was “no excuse” for the yearbook photo, stressing that Northam posed for it in the 1980s while he was a young adult in medical school. She also suggested that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax can “gracefully” replace Northam if he resigns.
That resignation could come soon, as top members of Northam's own party have been calling loudly for his departure. The list includes 2020 presidential candidates, such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and various liberal groups like MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood.