Virginia AG Admits He Wore Blackface at College Party

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at the Virginia Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson party fundraising dinner at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., June 26, 2015. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Virginia attorney general Mark Herring, who would assume the governorship should Governor Ralph Northam and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax resign due to their own scandals, admitted Wednesday that he wore blackface at a college party in 1980.

“In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow and perform a song,” Herring wrote in a statement. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experience and perspective of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”

Herring’s revelation is the latest in a string of scandals that have embroiled Virginia Democrats in recent days.

Prominent national and Virginia Democrats began calling for Governor Northam’s resignation on Friday, after the emergence of a photo, featured on his 1984 medical-school-yearbook page, that depicts two men, one wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume and the other in blackface.

After initially apologizing and conceding that he did appear in the picture, Northam reversed himself during a Saturday afternoon press conference in which he denied appearing in the photo but admitted to donning blackface on a separate occasion while in college. He has refused to step down despite a near-unanimous consensus among his fellow Democrats that his continued service would harm the commonwealth.

Lieutenant Governor Fairfax, who appeared poised to succeed Northam, was then accused of sexual assault in a Sunday night blog post on Big League Politics, the same outlet that first published Northam’s yearbook photo. Vanessa Tyson, a California politics professor, claims Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him while the pair were in a Boston hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

In a statement responding to the allegations, Fairfax claimed the interaction was consensual and cited the Washington Post‘srefusal to publish Tyson’s account as evidence of his innocence.

The Virginia Democratic party said in a Tuesday statement that the allegations deserve to be treated with “profound gravity” and vowed to continue to look into Tyson’s claims.

The majority of Democratic lawmakers, however, refused to comment when asked about the allegations on Capitol Hill this week.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Most Popular


What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More