Ralph Northam Should Resign But Receive a Chance to Get His Act Together as 'Private Citizen,' CNN's Gillum Says

CNN's Andrew Gillum said that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should resign but that people should not be "judged forever by their worst day."

Speaking on the show New Day, Gillum—who narrowly lost the Florida governor's race in November—asked that grace be shown to Northam but said that was best done with him out of office. In an interview over the weekend, Northam refused to resign after a page on his old yearbook showed a man in blackface and another in a KKK outfit. At first Northam apologized but later said he was not either person in the photo, although he did admit he wore blackface as a part of a Michael Jackson costume in the19'80s.

"It's now 10 days—two weeks—since we saw the people appear in blackface and a Klan costume for his medical school yearbook," host John Berman said. "Did you ever think that Ralph Northam was still going to be governor today?"

"No, I didn't, obviously," Gillum responded. "The interesting thing about this process that we see the governor going through right now is, I'm not actually sure what he is atoning for. He started by saying it was him. Then he said it wasn't. Then it was, 'I didn't select these pages to go in my yearbook.' And we're actually not sure where the truth is there. And i just think—I do believe people ought to be given grace. I do believe that people ought to have an opportunity to make amends for what they've said and what they've done. But we're unclear—the people of Virginia have to still be unclear—about what exactly he's taking responsibility for."

.@AndrewGillum has called for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s resignation but says he is “conflicted” by the situation: “People shouldn’t be judged forever by their worst day” https://t.co/QJ5XjVc9Uu pic.twitter.com/PEG9Axjw4G

— New Day (@NewDay) February 11, 2019

Later, Gillum expanded on why he has called for Northam to step down. He said on CNN's New Day:

"I've called for his resignation, largely because I think it's extremely difficult for him to be able to lead the state with the full confidence of the people that he's elected to serve. We did see some polling come out this weekend that shows that he's got majority popularity there, but his support amongst voters of color has gone down to about half ... I will tell you, I am a little bit conflicted in this whole situation in the sense that I went around the state for two years in Florida saying that people shouldn't be judged forever by their worst day. That all of us ought to have the opportunity to reconcile and get our act together. I feel that the governor's best suited to do that as a private citizen. But if he's vowing to stay in the office of governor, we're going to have to hear something better than what we heard in this interview over the weekend."

Virginia has been rocked by scandal after scandal in the last few weeks. In the wake of Northam's blackface controversy, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault. Then, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring—who would be next in line to serve as governor should Northam and Fairfax both resign—admitted that he had also worn blackface as a part of a costume in the 1980s.

A number of Northam's Democratic allies have called for him to step down. But in an interview with CBS's Gayle King this weekend, Northam insisted he would not resign.

andrew gillum
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum speaks at at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church on November 11, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Gillum is now a commentator on CNN, where he said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should resign amid a blackface controversy. Joe Skipper/Getty Images