Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday that he “overreacted” in his initial apology for the picture in his medical school yearbook that showed a man in blackface next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
“When you’re in a state of shock like I was, we don’t always think as clearly as we should. I will tell you that later that night I had a chance to step back, take a deep breath, look at the picture and said, ‘This is not me in the picture,'” Northam said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King that aired on Monday.
“When I stepped back and looked at it, I just said, I know it’s not me in the Klan outfit. And I started looking in a picture of the individual with blackface. I said that’s not me either. And that’s why I felt so strongly about going in front of the camera on Saturday and clarifying.”
The governor claimed that he’d only seen the photo after it became public knowledge earlier this month.
“How can that be? It’s on your yearbook page, governor,” King said.
“Well, I was shocked to see it. And I really believe that the fact that if you look at the unpreparedness of me to react to this, both on Friday night and Saturday, that really confirms that this is the first time,” Northam replied.