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Gov. Ralph Northam Off the Hook Again as Investigation Into 1984 Yearbook Photo Finds Inconclusive Results

Gov. Ralph Northam Off the Hook Again as Investigation Into 1984 Yearbook Photo Finds Inconclusive Results

The political life of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam goes on.

This morning, officials from Eastern Virginia Medical School held a press conference to report the findings from an investigation they commissioned into a racist photo published on Va. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in the school’s 1984 yearbook.

NBC Washington reports:

“With respect to the Photograph on Governor Northam’s personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph,” the medical school said its summary of the findings. “The Governor himself has made inconsistent public statements in this regard. No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the Governor is in the photograph, and no individual with knowledge has come forward to us to report that the Governor is in the photograph.”

The report also said that they did not find any information that the photograph was placed on Northam’s personal page in error and that they could not conclusively determine the origins of the photograph. “Our inquiry in this regard was restricted by the passage of time and the dearth of contemporaneous documentation,” the findings say.


Northam has said he never bought a copy of the yearbook, but the school’s findings say that one person recalled looking at the yearbook with him in 1984.

“While the Governor denies that this encounter occurred, this witness account would indicate that the Governor did know about the photograph in 1984, however, the witness did not think the Governor was personally depicted in the photograph,” the school’s findings say.

Watch video from the school’s announcement below:

They launched this investigation, in part, because of the “inconsistent statements” Gov. Northam gave on this issue on February 1st and 2nd. After the story broke, he said it was him in the photo. The next day, he retracted and said it wasn’t him.

Here’s a rough timeline of events as they unfolded at the time:

Friday, Feb. 1, 2019

Mid-afternoon, the conservative website Big League Politics published yearbook photos from the early 1980s of Northam from Eastern Virginia Medical School. One of the photos showed two men standing side by side – one wore a KKK costume, and the other wore blackface.

Rumors and speculation swirled on social media. Was the offending photo real or fake? If it was authentic, which one was Northam?

The Virginian-Pilot confirmed the authenticity of the photos a couple of hours later and credited BLP for breaking the story.

Early that evening, Northam issued a statement admitting to being in the blackface/KKK photo:

Later that evening, Gov. Northam posted a video on Twitter again and acknowledged his actions were wrong but vowed to serve out the remainder of his term:

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019:

The New York Times‘s Jonathan Martin posted a series of tweets that Gov. Northam backtracked, and privately told other Democrats that he did not appear in the photo:

During that afternoon press conference, Northam retracted the statements he’d made the day before, stating it was not him in the picture:

“When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time,” he said Saturday.

He said he never purchased a yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which he graduated from in 1984. He also said he never submitted that photo but did submit others that appear alongside it: a portrait of him, one of him kneeling in a farm setting and one of him sitting against a convertible.


On Saturday, he said he gave that response based on the evidence he had at the time, even though he said he knew from the first time he looked at the photo that it wasn’t him.


“I am not the person in that photo,” he reiterated several times, adding he wanted to “set the record straight.”


He was also asked about nicknames that appear with his photo in a 1981 Virginia Military Institute yearbook when he attended college there.

He said his “main” nickname in high school and college was “Goose” because his voice cracked and changed octaves, but two people that were a year ahead of him at VMI gave him the nickname “Coonman,” a possible reference to an offensive racial slur.

“I don’t know their motives,” he said of his classmates.

He admitted that he dressed in blackface as Michael Jackson for a dance competition in San Antonio that same year, where he did the moonwalk.

In one of the more bizarre moments of the presser, a reporter asked Northam if he could still do the moonwalk. After consulting with his wife, he declined:

His almost immediate backtracking over his initial statements never made any sense, and still don’t. But because Northam is a Democrat, who is held to different standards than Republicans are, he ultimately weathered the storm. Some Democratic candidates  for president came to Northam’s defense like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), who suggested a month and a half after the scandal first broke that it was time to “move on.”

And today’s announcement from EVMS ensures that the governor will skate on this issue. Again.

So predictable. In other news, dog bites man.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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I am sure that East Virginia Medical School diligently looked into the matter in the same way OJ diligently looked for the “real” killers of Nicole Simpson-Brown.

    “With respect to the Photograph on Governor Northam’s personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph,” the medical school said its summary of the findings.” So the investigators could not “exonerate” the “coonsman” Northam?

I was in an adult education class some years ago. Across the hall was a class in flower arranging. Someone in my class mused aloud, “I just hope that someday my life becomes so uncomplicated that I’ll need a class in ‘flower arranging.'”

Well, that’s pretty much what I think of this whole “Blackface: Did He or Didn’t He? Only his Imperial Wizard knows for sure!” saga.

healthguyfsu | May 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm

A small, third rate med school that is outclassed by even some of the top DO schools does an investigation.

Well, that is “neat”.

His first reaction was his true reaction. Until it was pointed out to him that there’s no way anyone could prove he was in the picture.

Then he had second thoughts, and lied.

Blaise MacLean | May 22, 2019 at 2:51 pm

Of course he is “off the hook” because he was never actually on it.

The yearbook issue was a fraud that arose… not “conveniently” but “deliberately”…so as to create a distraction from the infanticide controversy that created blowback. They couldn’t deal with it so they had to suppress it…and the best way was to create this phony yearbook issue.

This was more than a nothingburger…it was a false flag.

So, no surprise here. Democrat politicians are subjected to an entirely different system of “justice” than anyone else is. And, it has always been that way. Incidents such as this only make it that much clearer to the common folk.

Now it looks as though Elijah Cummings and his wife may have some significant tax and ethics problems.

least he didn’t dress up in an obama mask at a rodeo….

In the spirit of the times, I believe this calls for the investigators to be investigated. Obviously, they are covering up collusion with the KKK.

    Antifundamentalist in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 24, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Of course they could investigate, but the results would be the same as it always is for Dems: Yes, there is evidence of wrongdoing that we could not destroy completely, but no harm was intended by it, so…just move along, there’s nothing to see here as our politician has been vindicated…. Look! There’s a Conservative over there! We need to go harass it!

Massinsanity | May 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Advocating infanticide… yawn.

Perhaps having worn blackface 35 years ago… scandal, crisis, investigation.

What has happened to our country?

Someone aside from the Gov knows the real truth…..they just aren’t coming forward for who
knows what reason.

The Gov had better make sure his loose ends are tied up. Or better yet, maybe the loose ends have leveraged their info for some extra $$$$$ to forget about it.

Colonel Travis | May 22, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Every investigation into (D)s is always one page long. And this is the only thing on the page:


Democrats suddenly discover the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

I thought the side by side of the racist and his blackface photo has similar, but really stupid hair styles.
Not sure why anyone even bothered looking into it, fascist democrats don’t get the same trials as repubs.

Our corrupt media strikes again. It’s already been proved the governor was the guy in blackface because he used the same pants with the gridded pattern on campus.

Despicable scummy MSM.

Democrat politicians can still do whatever they want without consequence. What’s different about that?

You can bet your last dollar that if the Governor was a conservative the result would be quite different.

Brave Sir Robbin | May 23, 2019 at 12:33 pm

It’s good to be a Democrat.

I don’t understand. Did this idiot not look at his page in the yearbook? Did he not know that the KKK and blackface was evil? Why did he accept this crap and keep the year book?