Ralph Northam yearbook photo backlash: 3 things to know about the Virginia governor

A “racist and offensive” photo of Gov. of Virginia Ralph Northam surfaced Friday, and now the Democrat is facing mounting pressure to resign.

A page from Eastern Virginia Medical School’s 1984 yearbook shows one man dressed in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. It’s not currently clear which costume Northam was wearing.  Fox News obtained a copy of the yearbook page, which is the year the governor graduated from the school. The Virginian-Pilot, the Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch also reported they independently confirmed the authenticity of the page.

NORTHAM SAYS HE IS NOT IN RACIST YEARBOOK PHOTO AND WON’T RESIGN, VIRGINIA DEM SAYS, DESPITE WIDESPREAD CALLS FOR HIM TO GO

Following the news, Northam, 59, released a statement, saying he was “deeply sorry” for appearing in the photo.

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive. I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt, that decision caused then and now,” he said in part.

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

Politicians and officials on both sides of the aisle said Northam should step down from his position, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Julian Castro, who served in the Obama administration.

But the embattled governor told at least one fellow Democrat Saturday that he was not in a racist 1984 yearbook photo and does not intend to resign.

The news broke just days after Northam came under fire from Republicans who accused him of backing infanticide after he said he supported a bill loosening restrictions on late-term abortions.

As a result of the latest controversy, here are three fast facts to know about Northam.

He has a medical background

After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and serving eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army, Northam attended the Eastern Virginia Medical School and later was a pediatric neurologist at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, according to his official biography.

He later established the children’s Specialty Group which provides “expert pediatric care for patients,” the biography reads.

Northam also served as a doctor in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War.

He ran for governor in 2017

Northam faced off against Republican Ed Gillespie in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, which, at the time, was said to be one of the state’s “most racially charged campaigns in memory,” The Associated Press reported.

The race came after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. At the time, white nationalists demonstrated against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally turned violent as protesters clashed with counter-protesters, ultimately resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, 32.

He voted for former President George W. Bush —  twice

RALPH NORTHAM’S RESIGNATION DEMANDED AMID YEARBOOK CONTROVERSY: ‘THIS BEHAVIOR WAS RACIST AND UNCONSCIONABLE’

Northam, who is personal friends with many GOP lawmakers, revealed to The New York Times in a February 2017 interview that he voted for former President George W. Bush in each of his campaigns for president.

But he said the decision to do so was “wrong” and noted he was an “apolitical doctor” at the time.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Adam Shaw, Elizabeth Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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