Northam, a 59-year-old Democrat, is under pressure to resign after a picture surfaced showing a man in blackface posing next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
After initially apologizing when the picture resurfaced Friday, Northam held a news conference Saturday afternoon and denied it was him.
As his wife stood beside him, he said he had looked more closely at the photo and is “convinced that I am not in that picture.” Although he did admit to darkening his face with shoe polish when he dressed up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest in San Antonio, Texas in the 1980s.
Hours after Northam’s news conference, President Trump took time out from his golfing trip in Florida to criticize the Democrat, and bring up the governor’s recent comments supporting a late-term abortion bill.
“Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, ‘I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo.’ This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on ‘super’ late term abortion. Unforgivable!” Trump tweeted.
A half hour later, Trump got on Twitter again to say Ed Gillespie, Northam’s Republican opponent, would have won if the photo had surfaced during the gubernatorial campaign.
“Ed Gillespie, who ran for Governor of the Great State of Virginia against Ralph Northam, must now be thinking Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty with regard to his Opposition Research Staff. If they find that terrible picture before the election, he wins by 20 points!” Trump tweeted.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Northam to step aside and “do the right thing so that the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia can heal and move forward.”
As for Hollywood’s reaction, actress Alyssa Milano demanded Northam “resign now,” and conservative actor James Woods tweeted “Tough being a Democrat.”
If Northam resigns, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, will become the Commonwealth’s governor.