WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) says there's a difference between his black face admission and the governor's. He argues that distinction explains why he should stay in office and Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) should not.
In an interview Monday afternoon, Herring said the Governor lost the faith of the public. "For me, it was more about a breach of trust," said Herring.
Herring said he only called for the governor's resignation after Northam's explanation changed.
On Friday, February 1st, a picture from Northam's medical school year book hit the media. It showed two men, one in blackface, and one in KKK robes. That night, Northam issued a statement calling the picture "clearly racist and offensive," and saying he was "deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo."
"I was crushed for Virginians because I knew how much pain that was going to cause," said Herring. He said that's also when he began worrying about his own past. "Yes, I too also was thinking, 'would I have to have a public reckoning for something I did a long time ago."
A day later, Northam held a press conference saying he did not actually appear in the picture, but had worn black face as part of a Halloween costume.
"That led to just an evaporation of support including those whose support [Gov. Northam] would need in order to govern effectively," Herring said. That he said is when he decided to call for the governor's resignation.
Herring would wait until Wednesday, February 6th before he publicly revealed that he wore blackface at a college party in 1980.
Herring said it's not hypocritical to call for the governor's resignation without tendering his own. "I would hold myself to the same standard," he said, "if I've done something that irretrievably breaks the trust of the people and I lost the support those who I would need in order to do the job effectively, then I would do what was best for Virginia."
Asked if he still plans on running for governor in 2021, Herring pivoted back to the blackface scandal. "That is not anything I am thinking about right now," he said about a potential 2021 candidacy, "what I'm really focused on is what I can do to help repair the damage of the last four weeks, Virginians have been through a lot."
You can watch our interview with the attorney general in the video player above.