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On Friday, President Joe Biden met with Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) for the first time since Biden demanded Northam’s resignation in the wake of a devastating blackface scandal in 2019. Northam and Biden celebrated Virginia’s decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic recedes. Biden hailed Northam as an “instrumental partner” and did not once mention the fact that he demanded Northam’s resignation two years ago.
While both Northam and Biden rightly celebrated the historic vaccines for COVID-19, neither of them gave former President Donald Trump any credit for Operation Warp Speed. Biden hailed Northam as “instrumental” to the effort of vaccinating Virginians.
“Governors like Governor Northam have been instrumental partners, leaders in red states and blue states, working with businesses, faith leaders, community groups, to get it done at a local level,” Biden said.
Toward the end of his remarks, the president turned to the governor, who is a physician. “Gov, you’ve done one hell of a job, doc, and it matters.”
In 2019, after Northam defended the practice of infanticide for babies born alive in an attempted abortion, a former classmate of his at Eastern Virginia Medical School directed reporters to Northam’s personal page in his 1984 yearbook. The page included a photo of two men, one wearing blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan hood. Northam apologized for the photo but claimed he was not either of the men in the photograph.
Biden condemned Northam in no uncertain terms, demanding that the governor “resign immediately.”
“There is no place for racism in America. Governor Northam has lost all moral authority and should resign immediately, Justin Fairfax is the leader Virginia needs now,” Biden wrote on Twitter in a statement he has yet to delete.
Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia whom Biden praised, found himself in a #MeToo scandal shortly thereafter. Two women accused Fairfax of sexual assault and rape, and he denied the allegations. Kamala Harris, now Biden’s vice president, demanded that Fairfax, the man whom Biden said should become governor, should resign.
“The allegations by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson are corroborated, painful stories of sexual assault and rape. It’s clear Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should resign his office,” Harris tweeted. Harris had also called for Northam’s resignation.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), the likely Democratic nominee for Virginia’s gubernatorial race this year, also demanded the resignations of Fairfax and Northam.
Northam won the 2017 gubernatorial election against Republican Ed Gillespie after an ad depicted Gillespie as a racist along the lines of the white nationalists in Charlottesville. While Northam did not produce or release the ad, he refused to condemn it and his campaign reported it as an “in-kind contribution.” It seems ironic and extremely damning that Northam had the true racism scandal.
Despite all of this, Biden did not once mention the scandal. He did not suggest that Northam’s work after the scandal put his concerns to rest. He did not apologize for demanding Northam’s resignation. He did not apologize to black Virginians for praising the man whose yearbook page included a KKK hood and a white man in blackface.
Biden’s silence suggests that his initial outrage was extremely insincere.