Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama resisted calls for her resignation for appearing in blackface in a skit more than a half-century ago, as President Trump signaled his general support for the Republican governor.
At a press conference Tuesday in Montgomery, Ms. Ivey again apologized for her offensive sorority skit in 1967 but reiterated she has no intention of resigning.
“Heavens, no, I’m not going to resign,” she said. “It’s something that happened 52 years ago and I’m not that person. My administration stands on being inclusive and helping people.”
The uproar over Ms. Ivey’s actions is reminiscent of that that engulfed Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. Unlike Mr. Northam, whose medical school yearbook page featured a photo of two men, one in blackface, the other in full Ku Klux Klan regalia, no photographic evidence of Ms. Ivey’s college behavior appears to exist.
The blackface skit came to light following the appearance of a radio interview Ms. Ivey had with her former husband in which the couple discussed the goings-on at the Baptist Student Union.
Although Ms. Ivey has never denied the skit since the radio interview surfaced, she insists she has no memory of the event. Earlier this year, Ms. Ivey had told The Associated Press she had never worn blackface after a page from a yearbook showed a handful of her sorority sisters wearing blackface.
On Tuesday, Ms. Ivey reiterated her public apology and her understanding it was a hurtful act.
“I didn’t remember being at the Baptist Student Union in any kind of skit like that for sure,” Ms. Ivey said Tuesday. “But I’ve apologized for it. I should not have done that. I know it’s important to apologize to the people of Alabama.”
The Republican governor got an overall statement of support from President Trump, who praised her as “a fine woman,” although the president acknowledged he had no knowledge about what happened with Ms. Ivey and her sorority cohorts in the 1960s. For now, the Ivey camp appears to be adopting the same strategy Mr. Northam did in Virginia of riding out the wave of bad publicity.
The NAACP in Alabama has called for her resignation but the push for her ouster is far from universal.
For example, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, a black Democrat, has stopped short of demanding a resignation, saying that he appreciated Ms. Ivey “owning” the incident and apologizing for it.
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