Failed Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams urged the embattled Virginia Democrats to atone for their past inappropriate conduct but would not call for their resignation, unlike her response to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Abrams encouraged Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring to “take personal responsibility” for donning blackface on separate occasions in the 1980s. She also urged Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax to do the same, however, Fairfax has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
“I know this, these are men who have tried to do the right thing in their professional lives, but I think they have to grapple with their private and personal decisions,” Abrams told BuzzFeed News on Thursday. She stopped short of calling for any of the three Virginia Democrats to resign.
“I know that this is a difficult issue. I believe racism is wrong, I believe racist words and racist deeds require amends,” Abrams continued. “I would ask the state of Virginia, especially the governor, to think about what amends looks like in their state.”
The Georgia politician’s response is noticeably different than her reaction to the allegations of sexual assault against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which has recently drawn comparisons to Fairfax’s situation.
Multiple accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced during Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018 — the justice vehemently denied all allegations against him. The claims against Kavanaugh were never corroborated and ultimately dismissed.
Conversely, Fairfax acknowledges that a sexual encounter occurred with his accuser, however, he contended that it was consensual.
Abrams was a vocal opponent of Kavanaugh and urged the Senate to block his nomination. After the allegations against him arose, she argued that the women should be believed regardless of corroborating evidence.
“Even today, structural and cultural barriers have created stigma that prevents survivors of sexual assault from coming forward,” Abrams told Marie Claire in September. “It is incumbent upon our leaders to treat sexual assault prevention and building a culture of consent as a public health issue, and to ensure that survivors who wish to come forward can do so safely, and be believed.”
Abrams also participated in a national walk-out and a moment of solidarity with Kavanaugh’s accuser.
Survivors of sexual assault deserve respect. The way Dr. Blasey Ford has been treated is unacceptable. I will be participating in a national moment of solidarity at 1PM today because I #BelieveSurvivors. Will you join me?https://t.co/6Ntlhk7MI3 #gapol pic.twitter.com/eJPVPdj2R8
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) September 24, 2018
“Survivors of sexual assault deserve respect,” she tweeted. “The way Dr. Blasey Ford has been treated is unacceptable.”
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