Northam Says He Won't Resign Amid Virginia's Scandal

11 February, 2019, 16:39 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Second woman accuses Virginia's Lt Governor of sexual assault

"Well again, we have worked very hard, we've had a good first year, and I'm a leader. I've been in some very difficult situations, life-and-death situations..."

In 2017, the Virginia city of Charlottesville hosted an alt-right rally which saw a neo-Nazi ram his auto into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and wounding 28.

Northam said the state "needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass". But the Legislature is swirling with questions about lines of succession and the political fallout for Democrats should the governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general leave office, willingly or not. And so this has been a real, I think, an awakening for Virginia.

Ralph Northam made his first public appearance on Saturday since defying calls a week ago to step down over a racist yearbook photograph, as his potential successor, a fellow Democrat, resisted growing pressure to quit over sexual assault allegations.

The jeopardy confronting Mr. Fairfax, who was a 39-year-old rising star in the party, is part of a political crisis overtaking Virginia's Democratic leadership.

The dean of Virginia's Democratic congressional delegation requested immediate investigations of the women's allegations against Fairfax. A lawyer for Meredith Watson, 39, said in a statement that Fairfax attacked Watson in 2000.

Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two US senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Two Palestinian teens killed at border with Gaza
Israel, which has been accused of using excessive force, says it does what it must to protect its borders. Another 17 protesters were wounded by Israeli live fire at five separate demonstration sites, it added.

Looking ahead, Northam said he has asked his cabinet secretaries to come up with specific proposals to begin addressing issues of inequality, such as expanding access to healthcare, housing and transportation, and to begin reporting suggestions this week.

One of the women, Vanessa Tyson, said in a statement earlier this week that at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fairfax "put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch", and said that he "forced his penis into my mouth".

"What I have just expressed is the truth". Fairfax has asked the FBI to investigate the assault claims against him. Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of getting Senate Pro Tem Steve Newman to serve as both a voting senator and temporary lieutenant governor. Of Herring, he said that "just like me, he has grown".

Northam, now a year into his four-year term, announced his intention to stay at an afternoon Cabinet meeting, according to a senior official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In the interview with the Washington Post, Northam says, "It's been a horrific week for Virginia".

Northam said he had been especially affected by a conversation with a black lawmaker, whom he declined to name, on the topic of blackface.

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