On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) reminded voters of his notorious blackface scandal by choosing to demonstrate proper coronavirus social distancing protection with a black face mask. Americans might not have noticed if it weren’t for NBC Washington tweeting about the moment in question.
NBC Washington deleted the tweet, but the damage had been done.
“In a striking moment, Gov. Ralph Northam put on his own black face mask. He urged every Virginian to do the same,” the outlet tweeted.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 6, 2020
During the press conference, Northam demonstrated how to put on the mask and noted that the Department of Corrections had made the face mask he wore.
That tweet dredged up the story of Northam’s infamous blackface incident, which began with his remarks on a different subject entirely — that of abortion.
Last year, Northam defended the practice of infanticide for babies born alive in an attempted abortion. After birth, he said, “the infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother.”
The governor later insisted that he had not defended infanticide, but his comments came just as Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) testified that her REPEAL Act (H.B. 2491) would change Virginia law so that just one doctor — rather than the three doctors Northam referenced — could decide whether delivering a baby would be hazardous enough to a mother’s life or health to justify getting an abortion — even at the beginning of labor.
Northam’s decision to double down on infanticide led a former classmate of his to dig up a photo from Northam’s yearbook. In the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, the student who would go on to become Virginia’s governor featured a particularly noteworthy picture on his page: two men, one wearing blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan hood. The book quoted Northam as saying, “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”
Thread: This Ralph Northam photo makes my blood boil because one of the reasons Northam beat @EdWGillespie in 2017 was his strategy of tarring Gillespie as a racist connected with Charlottesville. /1https://t.co/1VzFZYpTyV
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) February 1, 2019
The governor apologized for the photo, and he insisted he was neither the man in blackface nor the man in the Ku Klux Klan hood. During one press conference, however, he confessed to having worn blackface while competing as Michael Jackson in a dance competition. Later in that press conference, a reporter asked if he could still moonwalk, and it appeared Northam was preparing to moonwalk before his wife stopped him.
Members of Northam’s own party called on him to resign, but he refused.
This incident, coupled with the governor’s support for infanticide, made my blood boil. Ralph Northam won the governor’s race in 2017 in part due to a disgusting smear campaign against Ed Gillespie, tarring the Republican as a white nationalist. Gillespie had immediately condemned the white nationalists in Charlottesville, but Northam sent out a disgusting mailer (which I received in the mail) tying both President Donald Trump and Gillespie to the white nationalists in Charlottesville.
Another ad presented Gillespie as a genocidal white supremacist. Northam reported that ad as an “in-kind” donation to his campaign.
To top it all off, the current governor at the time, Terry McAuliffe, accused Gillespie of having run the “most racist” campaign in Virginia history. He suggested Gillespie’s campaign was more racist than the secessionist movement supporting slavery that sparked the Civil War, the segregationists, and the opposition to interracial marriage. That’s how ridiculous it got.
As for Northam’s black face mask, it seems a tragic coincidence for the governor. After all, he was merely attempting to give Virginians direction during the coronavirus crisis. However, once this crisis is over, Virginians should remember the rank hypocrisy of this Democrat’s campaign and seriously consider ousting his party from the control of the state government. It seems a groundswell of Second Amendment and pro-life voters may make my adopted state a true political battleground once again.
Watch the video below. The black face mask emerges around the 9-minute mark.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) April 6, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.