Last week, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) used the scandal surrounding Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface-KKK yearbook photo to repeat his incessant calls for Congress to impeach President Donald Trump. Indeed, Green blamed Trump for Northam’s refusal to resign, despite calls from Democrats across the country.
“When we allow bigotry to infect the body politic with impunity at the highest level, other levels will expect impunity for their bigotry,” Green tweeted. “Gov. Northam’s refusal to resign for his bigotry is a symptom. Failure to act on Pres. Trump’s bigotry is the problem.” The congressman added the hashtag “Impeachment Is Not Dead.”
When we allow bigotry to infect the body politic with impunity at the highest level, other levels will expect impunity for their bigotry. Gov. Northam’s refusal to resign for his bigotry is a symptom. Failure to act on Pres. Trump’s bigotry is the problem. #ImpeachmentIsNotDead
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) February 7, 2019
Al Green also delivered similar remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
He declared “that the refusal to resign because of blatant bigotry is a symptom. The refusal to resign when it is obvious, intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, that there is bigotry. The refusal to resign when there is clear and convincing evidence of bigotry, when there is guilt beyond all doubt, when there’s a smoking gun.”
Northam has insisted that the photo on his yearbook page — which shows two men, one in blackface and the other in a KKK robe and hood — did not show him and was unknown to him before the controversy broke earlier this month. Yet a former staffer who worked on that yearbook insisted that the photos were chosen by the individual students for their own pages. Northam did admit to wearing blackface when dressing as Michael Jackson at a party in the 1980s. The Virginia governor has refused to resign.
Al Green did not place primary blame on Ralph Northam, however, but on Donald Trump.
“The refusal to resign under these circumstances is a symptom. The problem is at the presidential level,” the congressman declared. “It is the refusal to take on a president who has exhibited bigotry in policy. When we allow bigotry in policy to proceed with immunity [sic], we allow persons to believe that they, too, can emulate that which comes from the highest office in the land.”
“You have in Virginia a klansman and blackface next to each other in a yearbook. It has been acknowledged as that of the governor,” Green continued. “With that acknowledgment and with that additional indication that it was done on a previous occasion, blackface, there is enough evidence not only to ask that the governor resign, but to demand that he do so.”
Yet the congressman seemingly excused Northam’s decision not to resign. “But I understand why this level of bigotry is going to be tolerated to a certain extent. Because we don’t want to take on the president,” he said. “If we allow the president to exist with his bigotry, how can we demand with any degree of credibility that the governor resign?”
In order to demand Northam’s resignation, Democrats must impeach Trump, Green argued. “We have to start at the top. This level of bigotry is trickling down to this extent, that people are going to refuse to acknowledge their bigotry. They will lie and deny. They will do all that they can to stay in office.”
If Democrats do not impeach Trump, the congressman suggested, the scandals will get worse and elected officials will refuse to resign, even if they are pictured in photographs dressed as Nazis.
“I stand today to say that we cannot allow this incident to go unchecked because what will we do next when there is a Nazi standing in a photograph and there’s a noose in a photograph, there are swastikas? This is going to continue,” Green said.
He denounced as cowardice the idea that Democrats should defeat Trump at the ballot box in 2020, rather than impeaching him. Finally, he declared that there will be a vote to impeach the president, even if Special Counsel Robert Mueller finds no wrongdoing.
By press time, Al Green had not responded to a request from PJ Media asking if the congressman holds Northam blameless for his refusal to resign until Democrats impeach Donald Trump.
Hey @RepAlGreen, do you still blame Trump for Ralph Northam being unwilling to resign over his blackface history? Is Northam blameless until Democrats impeach Trump?
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) February 11, 2019
While the congressman has denounced Ralph Northam, he has suggested that the true fault does not lie with the Democratic governor but with the Republican president.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.