“Democrats at the top are killing the Great State of Virginia. If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken. Virginia will come back HOME Republican ... in 2020!” Trump tweeted early Thursday. Virginia voted Democrat in the last presidential election and is among the swing states Trump hopes to win back. (The next gubernatorial election is scheduled for 2021, as Virginia holds off-year elections.)
Trump’s tweet comes as another top Virginia official, Attorney General Mark Herring, admitted to dressing in blackface in the 1980s.
The scandal began last weekend, when a photo from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page surfaced showing two men—one dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb and the other in blackface. Northam, despite first admitting he was in the photo, later denied it.
Northam faced swift calls from both Democrats and Republicans to resign from his post. Northam refused, and in a matter of days, controversies have engulfed the next two officials in the line of succession.
Amid speculation that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax could replace Northam, a professor named Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused him of sexual assault in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Mass., when he worked as a staffer for then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. Fairfax denied the allegations.
But Tyson, who retained the law firm that represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in high school, released a detailed statement Wednesday describing the alleged incident.
Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in a hotel room and said that the act was not consensual.
“To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave him any form of consent. Quite the opposite,” Tyson said in the statement.
Fairfax is vehemently denying the allegations, and maintaining it was a “consensual encounter.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Herring posted a statement admitting he, too, donned blackface during a college party in 1980, saying he wore brown makeup and a wig to look like a black rapper during a party at the University of Virginia.
“This was a onetime occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct,” Herring said in the statement.