00:31 GMT +316 October 2019
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    The offending image found in Governor Ralph Northam's yearbook.

    Virginia Governor Says He Was Not in Racist Photo, Refuses to Step Down – Report

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    Earlier, photos from Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page showing a person in blackface and another in a KKK robe prompted him to apologize amid calls for his resignation.

    Governor Northam has questioned whether one of the two individuals wearing racist costumes in an old yearbook photo was really him. 

    Speaking to the Washington Post, Democratic Virginia state senator Louise Lucas said that Northam had called her on Saturday morning to say that he now didn't believe the picture had him in it, with Lucas reportedly responding that "he should have said that yesterday, then."

    A day earlier, Northam acknowledged that he was in the photo, admitted that the image was "clearly racist and offensive," and offered an apology to his constituents. "This behaviour is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service," he said. 

    A Virginia Democrat Source told NBC News that Northam had planned to resign after issuing his apology and meeting with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, but that he later had a change of heart.

    The New York Times reported Saturday that Northam was calling former classmates to try to find out more information on the photo, with CNN citing a source who said that Northam believed the yearbook pictures may have been mixed up.

    Protesters gathered in Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday, calling on Northam to step down in favour of Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. The Democrats' GOP rivals and political and media heavyweights across the board have made similar demands, saying Northam does not "uphold American values."

    Northam was sworn in as governor in January 2018 for a four-year term following an election in November 2017 against Republican rival Ed Gillespie.

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    photo, racism, Blackface, KKK, Ralph Northam, Virginia, United States
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