U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has joined calls for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign, while Sen. Mark Warner said the allegations are disqualifying “if they are accurate.”
The state’s top federal elected officials -- both Democrats and former governors -- weighed in on Fairfax’s fate in statements Friday night.
Kaine’s statement was unequivocal, saying Fairfax can no longer serve the commonwealth after two women came forward this week to accuse him of sexual assault.
"Lieutenant Governor Fairfax should resign. The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the commonwealth,” Kaine’s statement said. “We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault.”
Warner, however, stopped short of calling for Fairfax’s immediate resignation.
“Sexual assault is never acceptable, and survivors of violence and harassment deserve to be heard. If these allegations concerning Lieutenant Governor Fairfax are accurate, then they are clearly disqualifying and he must resign,” Warner’s statement said.
Warner further acknowledged the “crisis” in Virginia’s executive branch and called on those in elected office to “always put the commonwealth first.”
“Resolving this crisis will require a government with the confidence of the people, justice for those who have been harmed, and a path forward that promotes healing and reconciliation,” Warner said.
“I am committed to doing everything I can to find this way ahead, but it will not be the work of a single evening. Those of us in elected office who have been endowed with the public's trust must always put the commonwealth first.”
The statements come a week after both Kaine and Warner called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign over the racist picture on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.
On Friday, Feb. 2, Northam apologized for appearing in one of the costumes depicted in the picture, which shows one person in blackface next to another in a Ku Klux Klan hood.
On Saturday, Feb. 3, Northam said he is not in the picture but acknowledged once darkening his face to dress up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest, also in 1984.
Kaine and Warner called for the governor’s resignation in a joint statement issued after the afternoon press conference.