Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, convened an "urgent meeting" Sunday night with top staff and administration officials of color to discuss his next steps, amid intense pressure from within his own party to resign over a photo of someone in an offensive costume in his 1984 medical school yearbook, a source told NBC News.
Northam denies being in the yearbook photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.
A source connected with the Democratic leadership in Virginia told News4 that the meeting with Northam started at 6 p.m.
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was not present at the meeting, sources told News4 and NBC News.
Fairfax would succeed Northam as governor should he resign, and would complete the rest of Northam's term which is set to end in 2022.
Ed Gillespie, who ran for Governor of the Great State of Virginia against Ralph Northam, must now be thinking Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty with regard to his Opposition Research Staff. If they find that terrible picture before the election, he wins by 20 points!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2019
Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, “I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo.” This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on “super” late term abortion. Unforgivable!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2019
This has gone on too long. There is nothing to debate. He must resign. https://t.co/TjfS3vbcws— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 3, 2019
There is no place for racism in America. Governor Northam has lost all moral authority and should resign immediately, Justin Fairfax is the leader Virginia needs now.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 2, 2019
This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time.— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) February 2, 2019
What Ralph Northam did was unforgivable. Given his statements on the right to life coupled with the most recent revelations, he has lost the moral authority to continue to govern and should resign immediately.— Virginia GOP (RPV) (@VA_GOP) February 1, 2019
If Governor Northam loves Virginia the way I know he does, he will resign to allow the Commonwealth to focus on its place in addressing the history of slavery and racism in America.— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) February 3, 2019
These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they’ve eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam’s ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 2, 2019
Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 2, 2019
Earlier Sunday, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that Northam "still does not understand the seriousness of his actions."
California Rep. Karen Bass, a fellow Democrat, said she thinks Northam is being "dishonest." She told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Virginia governor knew this picture was there and could've been open about it decades ago with African-Americans that he's close to.
Northam worshipped Sunday at his home church, the predominantly black First Baptist in Capeville, but otherwise kept out of sight as calls intensified for him to step down.
Northam faces an overwhelming number of calls to resign, including from the state's attorney general Mark Herring, both of the state's Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Republican Party of Virginia and both Democratic caucuses in the state house and senate.
National figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Democratic presidential hopefuls including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, have all called for Northam to resign.
Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.