Vermont’s former Democratic Governor Howard Dean rebuked Republicans, saying they have “no morals at all” and accused President Donald Trump of being “much worse” than embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, Dean agreed with many leading Democrats that Rotham, who is also a Democrat, should resign after a yearbook photo from 1984 resurfaced allegedly showing the governor in a snapshot that included one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume. Northam initially apologized for the offensive image on Friday, but then on Saturday, he argued that he wasn’t actually in the photo. Despite widespread calls from within and outside his political party, he has thus far refused to step down.
“I believe he’s a decent person but I think he has to resign,” Dean told CNN. “He just can’t be effective as a governor after something like this.” The former governor also pointed to the resignation of Democratic Governor Al Franken in 2018 after allegations of sexual harassment.
“People are not going to put up with this stuff anymore,” Dean pointed out. “Maybe they would have put up with it in the past, but they’re not going to put up with it now.”
When asked by host Brian Stelter if he felt that there was a double standard in the wake of the Northam photo, Dean argued there certainly was among Republicans. Leading Republicans, including Trump, have been quick to condemn Northam along with their Democratic colleagues. However, as many analysts and critics have pointed out, they have in the past been slow or unwilling to condemn racism within their own party. Some have also pointed to racist comments made by Trump, asking why the GOP has stuck by the president.
“They have no morals at all,” Dean said. “I mean, Republicans are happy to ask Ralph Northam to resign [but] they have a much worse guy who is heading their party. It’s ridiculous.”
Trump has been frequently called a “racist” and “racially divisive” by critics and some Democratic politicians. Following the death of an anti-racism demonstrator protesting against a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, the president did not condemn the overtly racist demonstrators, which included members of the KKK and neo-Nazis. He instead insisted there were “very fine people” among the white supremacists. Those same white supremacists had marched holding torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “the blacks will not replace us.”
The president has also characterized immigrants from Central America and Mexico as “criminals” and “rapists,” despite the assessment of analysts and immigration officials that have said the majority are family units seeking asylum from soaring crime rates and economic crises in their home countries. Prior to being elected, Trump also called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” After he took office, his administration pushed through a policy that blocked individuals from the Muslim-majority countries of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Somalia from obtaining visas to the U.S., which critics have called a watered-down “Muslim ban.”