Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has admitted that he wore ”brown makeup” at a party in 1980, just days after calling on the state’s governor to resign in the midst of a scandal involving a blackface photo on the governor’s medical school yearbook page.
Herring said in an official statement Wednesday that he attended a party when he was 19 years old at which he and some friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.” According to the statement, they did so to look like rappers they listened to at the time.
“In the days ahead, honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general, but no matter where we go from here, I will say that from the bottom of my heart, I am deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation,” Herring’s statement said.
Before he was elected as attorney general, Herring, of Leesburg, Virginia, was a state senator. He previously practiced law at The Herring Law Firm in Leesburg.
After Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Herring is next in line for the governorship. Fairfax, meanwhile, is facing sexual assault allegations, which he has vehemently denied.
Fairfax has remained a partner at Morrison & Foerster while fulfilling his duties as lieutenant governor, a post to which he was elected in 2017. The firm has not responded to calls for comment on the allegations against Fairfax.
The next in line for governorship after Herring is Marvin Kirkland “Kirk” Cox, a Republican serving as speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Herring released an official statement Saturday in which he called on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign from his post, after a photo emerged last week from Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page showing a man dressed in blackface smiling next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
Northam has denied the photo featured his image, but admitted to darkening his skin in the past while sporting a Michael Jackson costume.