During the hourlong conference, Northam said he wasn’t sure if he was in the photo, which showed a man in blackface and person in Ku Klux Klan garb. However, he did reveal that he once darkened his face with shoe polish and dressed up like iconic pop star Michael Jackson — whose name he briefly forgot — for a dance contest.
Northam won the contest because of his ability to moonwalk, he told reporters. Then, when asked if he could still moonwalk, Northam glanced around, as if looking for space to dance, before his wife interrupted him by saying, “inappropriate circumstances.”
The governor also made a comment about how hard it is to get shoe polish off one’s face.
— CNN (@CNN) February 2, 2019
Video of when Ralph Northam gets asked by a reporter if he can still moonwalk. He looks around as if for space – only to be cut off by his wife who says, "inappropriate circumstances." pic.twitter.com/jcV2VJCtoD
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) February 2, 2019
On Friday, a day before denying he was in the photo, Northam apologized in a statement for “the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”
But the 1984 photo isn’t the only problem. Later Friday, CBS News found a 1981 yearbook from when Northam attended the Virginia Military Institute. In it, his nickname is listed as “Coonman,” referring to a slur for black people.
Ralph Northam's senior yearbook at VMI says one of his nicknames was "Coonman." I don't dare speculate as to what that means.
Here's the link to the yearbook archive: https://t.co/To8p8ln8Xr pic.twitter.com/jrNra2fiEK
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) February 1, 2019
Despite calls from both Republicans and Democrats to immediately resign in light of the yearbooks, Northam on Saturday said he was committed to serving the rest of his term.
Reporters and people on Twitter were both confused and surprised by the press conference.
Some noted how dramatically worse things have become for the governor in the 24 hours after his yearbooks surfaced. Many others pointed out that Northam’s press conference did little to distance him from his racist past.
Ralph Northam has gone from:
"It was me in the photo but I'm sorry guys."
To: "Looking back, it wasn't me in the photo, guys."
To: "okay well one time I kinda did blackface but it wasn't that time in the photo haha ok gotta go and also I'm not resigning."
— James Michael Sama (@JamesMSama) February 2, 2019
Not in an ideal position if you're describing the amount of shoe polish you put on your face to pretend to be Michael Jackson
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) February 2, 2019
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) February 2, 2019
Let me tell you, Ralph Northam thinking he can get out of this by saying "That wasn't me in black face, but I DID wear black face this other time. Anyhoo, I'm gonna stay governor. Anyone wanna see me moonwalk?" is some galactic-level white male privilege.
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) February 2, 2019
— Laura Vozzella (@LVozzella) February 2, 2019
Ralph Northam’s black friend pic.twitter.com/kSHaMxkWq9
— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) February 2, 2019
Northam: “If you look at the picture, and you look closely, you can see that’s not me.”
— Gabby Orr (@GabbyOrr_) February 2, 2019
At this point, the only option for @RalphNortham is to run as a Republican for President. He'll be a shoe-in for 2020.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) February 2, 2019
Ralph Northam is the adult version of one of those Covington Catholic boys.
— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) February 2, 2019
HE. WAS. GOING. TO. MOONWALK. https://t.co/skGnQ43AbX
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) February 2, 2019
Ralph Northam: Lots of black friends but, er, no idea that dressing up in blackface might be a problem
— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) February 2, 2019
Describe Racist Democrat Ralph Northam’s presser in one GIF.
I’ll start: pic.twitter.com/D8Ho4ocppB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 2, 2019
If Northam changes his mind and resigns, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Democrat Justin E. Fairfax, would take over the reins as governor.
Fairfax is a descendant of slaves who, in November 2017, became Virginia’s second black person ever to be elected to statewide office, according to The New York Times.
Fairfax on Saturday said Northam reached out to him to apologize for the racist photo. The lieutenant governor said he “cannot condone the actions of [Northam’s] past,” but did not call for his resignation.
“I remain committed to serving and helping to heal the Commonwealth moving forward,” he said in a statement.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.