News & Politics

Northam Says He Didn't Ask Appointee to Resign Over Anti-Catholic Tweets, Signals She Could Have Stayed in Job

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va) speaks to reporters on Thursday (Photo credit: Nicholas Ballasy)

HERNDON, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) revealed that he did not ask his appointee, Gail Gordon Donegan, to resign from the Virginia Council on Women after her anti-Catholic tweets were revealed.

Donegan, a Democratic activist, announced that she was resigning on Wednesday. Catholic Bishops had called on Northam to rescind her appointment to council.

Northam was asked on Thursday if he requested her resignation.

“No I didn’t but I just want to reiterate that I don’t condone that kind of language and if she had chosen to stay on the commission, I would have encouraged her to refrain from any type of language that would be offensive to other folks,” Northam told reporters after announcing a new initiative that will bring 50 electric buses to public school districts in Virginia.

Some of Donegan’s past social media posts included, “Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehead” with the hashtag #waystooffend. She also wrote that “abortion is morally indefensible to Catholic priests bcuz it results in fewer children to rape” and retweeted that Christmas is “the one time of year the Catholic Church is allowed to focus on a little boy.”

When asked if her appointment was a misstep, Northam replied, “I don’t have any other comment on that.”

Northam would not say if he was aware of Donegan’s controversial social media posts before he appointed her.

“I’m not going to say. I just said I’m not going to comment on that anymore. I’ve answered that. I’ve addressed it. It’s old news. We’re moving on,” he said.

Northam was asked if he has a message for Catholics in Virginia who are offended by his decision to appoint Donegan.

“I have commented on that and we’re here to talk about other things,” he replied.