Political News

Joe Lieberman says Northam shouldn't resign and there's been a 'rush to judgment'

Posted February 4, 2019 11:57 a.m. EST

— Former independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Monday that embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam should not resign and there has been "a rush to judgment" on the controversy surrounding a recently resurfaced decades-old racist photo that has consumed the state for the past three days and led to calls for Northam's resignation from officials across the political spectrum.

When asked by CNN's Jim Sciutto on "Newsroom" if he believes Northam should resign, Lieberman said, "I don't today. I mean, I think there's a rush to judgment that is unfair to him."

"One, he says he wasn't in that picture. Two, I think we ought to fairly ask him, 'Did he know the picture was on his page of that yearbook?" And then three, really he ought to be judged in the context of his whole life," he said.

Lieberman continued: "You know, I pray every day that God is merciful. I know how imperfect I am, and I always feel that I've got to show the same kind of mercy to other people in judgment until they're actually proven guilty. And I think he deserves a chance to prove what really is his essence -- not to rush him out of office, unfortunately, for political reasons."

Northam came under fire Friday when a photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook page surfaced. The photo depicts one person in blackface and another in the Ku Klux Klan's signature white hood and robes.

The Democratic governor initially acknowledged the photo later Friday and apologized for it, saying in a statement that the costumes were "clearly racist and offensive."

By Saturday afternoon, Northam, who was being asked to resign by a number of state and national politicians and political organizations, denied that he appeared in the photo and said that he doesn't plan to step down.