More than twenty-four hours after Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he once wore blackface at a college party, Herring has yet to explain why he hasn’t resigned, despite previously calling on Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over his own blackface scandal.
Herring on February 2 called on Northam to resign as governor, a day after Northam admitted he was in a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page. (Northam has since changed his story, disputing that he was in the photo but admitting that he wore blackface on a different occasion.)
“It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down,” Herring said at the time. “I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth.”
Since that time, both Herring and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax have faced scandals of their own: Herring for wearing blackface in 1980, and Fairfax for being accused of sexual assaulting Dr. Vanessa Tyson, now a fellow at Stanford University, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Herring issued a lengthy statement on Wednesday admitting to wearing blackface, but he didn’t commit to resigning as attorney general, only stating that “honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general.”
“Herring is now in the awkward position of arguing that wearing blackface in medical school demands departure from office but wearing blackface as an undergraduate does not,” National Review’s Jim Geraghty observed Thursday.
The attorney general has yet to speak publicly on the matter, other than issuing his written statement on Wednesday. He still hasn’t explained why he called on Northam to resign, in light of his own behavior.
Though Herring remains in office, he did step down as co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association on Wednesday.
Herring’s press secretary, Charlotte Gomer, didn’t return an email inquiring why Herring called on Northam to resign but has remained in office himself.
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