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Republican leaders silent as Alabama governor insists she won’t resign over blackface scandal

Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) adamantly vowed on Tuesday that she would not resign her office, despite revelations last week that she once appeared in blackface in a college Baptist Student Union skit while she was a student at Auburn University. The national Republican leaders who demanded a Democratic governor resign for a very similar scandal have suddenly changed their minds on whether this is a forgivable offense.

Ivey, at her first public appearance since releasing a video message apologizing for the 1967 incident, said, “Heavens no, I’m not going to resign. It’s something that happened 52 years ago and I’m not that person. My administration stands on being inclusive and helping people.”

Ivey’s record has been anything but inclusive: she vocally opposed the LGBTQ “agenda” and “lifestyle,” signed a bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate on “religious freedom” grounds, and ran a 2018 campaign ad boasting of her efforts to protect Confederate memorials.

President Donald Trump, whose racist record and rhetoric has been a hallmark of his political career, backed Ivey on Friday, praising her as a “very, very high-quality woman” who had already apologized.

But earlier this year, Trump and his handpicked GOP leadership showed no such forgiveness when a Democrat was in an almost identical position.

In February, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) was thought to have been captured in a photo from his 35-year-old medical school yearbook page showing a man in blackface and another man dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam apologized for the photo, though he later claimed he did not believe he was in either picture. He did admit to — and apologize for — wearing blackface to imitate Michael Jackson once.

Trump called Northam’s actions “unforgivable” at the time.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who has thus far been silent on the Ivey controversy, tweeted more than a dozen times demanding Northam’s immediate resignation.

And then-RNC spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany (now Trump’s campaign secretary) has also been silent on Ivey’s scandal, despite demanding that Northam step down.

“It’s time for the Democratic governor to step down. It’s time for him to resign,” she urged, during a February MSNBC interview. “There’s no place in society for those images. There’s no place in society for those beliefs and he’s got to stop down.”

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