Former Virginia Congressman Bemoans Gov. Northam's 'Public Shaming'

Fellow Democrat Jim Moran suggested the blackface scandal had turned into a "frenzy."

As calls mount for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, former Congressman Jim Moran lamented what he called a rush to judgment on the Democrat’s admitted use of blackface.

Moran, also a Virginia Democrat, appeared Monday night on CNN to make his plea, telling the network’s Anderson Cooper that with initiatives such as Medicare for minorities and voting rights, the governor has “done so many things that seem to run counter to this.” 

“It all seems indefensible, but there have been a series of these public shamings where we go into a kind of frenzy and we chew up and spit out the targets of our righteous indignation and then we retreat into our corners where we’re ideologically comfortable, and it just contributes to more tribalism.”

Moran took a remarkably lenient position regarding the governor, who has been the subject of widespread controversy after a photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced showing two men side by side, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

After stating he was one of the individuals in the image, Northam then reversed course the next day, contending he was not in the picture but that he had worn shoe polish on his face while impersonating Michael Jackson during a dance competition that same year.

While demands for Northam to step down have been bipartisan, Moran suggested it was too soon for a shakeup.

“I think that if all these facts are the case, that Gov. Northam will resign, but I do object to what may be somewhat of a rush to judgment,” he said.

Meanwhile, it appears Northam’s popularity has taken a nosedive. Polls from Morning Consult indicate his approval rating has plummeted 19 percentage points from before the yearbook photo emerged to the time after it was made public.

On Monday, Northam reportedly met with senior administration officials to mull over whether to quit, though he currently remains in office.