During his Monday night monologue, the anchor denounced the Democratic governor for ripping a page “straight out of the Trump playbook” in handling his admitted use of blackface back in 1984.
The routine goes like this, Lemon said: “Just double down, triple down, wait for the storm to pass, wait for the next big story to push this scandal out of the headlines.”
Last week, an image from the governor’s medical school yearbook emerged, showing a man in blackface next to another in a Ku Klux Klan uniform.
Northam first said he was in the photo, later changing his mind and denying he was one of the men pictured. However, he revealed that he had in fact worn blackface that same year as part of a Michael Jackson costume while participating in a dance contest.
“Why would Governor Northman contradict what he’d said less than 24 hours before?” Lemon wondered.
Then he answered his own question.
“It does work,” he said, recalling that “it worked over and over and over” when it came to Trump’s self-defense after the infamous Access Hollywood tape surfaced in 2016, indicating he bragged about sexual assault in 2005.
First, Trump offered a televised mea culpa, admitting to having uttered the predatory remarks, but two days later he walked that back, chalking it up to locker room talk. Eventually he began openly questioning the authenticity of the recording altogether.
Despite the backlash just a month before the presidential election, he survived.
Amid calls for Northam’s resignation, the real debate, Lemon said, is whether the governor will survive, too.
“It is a strategy that has worked for the president, but the question is, will it work this time?”