News & Politics

McAuliffe: Northam's a 'Great Governor Doing a Great Job,' 'We've Moved On' from Blackface Photo Scandal

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) said that Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) is a “great governor doing a great job” and “we’ve moved on” from the blackface photo controversy.

Northam attended a canvass kickoff event on Saturday for Democrats in Virginia Beach. Prior to that, Northam was largely absent from campaigning in support of Democratic candidates. In February, McAuliffe and other state Democratic leaders called for Northam to resign after the release of a photo on Northam’s college yearbook page showing a person in blackface and another in a KKK outfit. Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the national Democratic leaders who also called for Northam to resign after the release of the photo.

“I think he [Northam] did some canvas kickoffs yesterday. I mean, I’m doing my deal and you know he’s governor. He’s busy as governor doing what he’s got to do,” McAuliffe said after introducing Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on Sunday during a get-out-the-vote rally in Sterling, Va. Northam was not in attendance.

McAuliffe reflected on his call for Northam’s resignation ahead of Tuesday’s election, which could give Democrats full control of state government for the first time in 26 years.

“Friday night when I talked to him there was a question if he was in the photo and I wish he had told me Friday night he wasn’t in the photo. And then he came out Saturday and said he wasn’t in it. Had he told me Friday night when I talked to him I never would have asked for him to resign,” McAuliffe said. “But, you know, we’ve moved on. He’s a great governor doing a great job. The state’s cranking it. We’ve just got to keep it going.”

Some Democratic voters at the rally were shouting, “Terry for VP” as he walked by.

McAuliffe was asked if he would be open to serving as Biden’s vice president if he won the nomination.

“Well, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I’m always open to serving the country,” he replied.

Biden was not available for follow-up questions after his speech at the rally.