Virginia AG says he wore blackface at college party

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia slid deeper into political turmoil Wednesday when another top Democrat — Attorney General Mark Herring — admitted putting on blackface in the 1980s, when he was a college student.

With Gov. Ralph Northam's career in peril over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, Herring issued a statement saying he wore brown makeup and a wig in 1980 to look like a rapper during a party as a 19-year-old at the University of Virginia.

Herring, 57, said he was "deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation."

The disclosure further roils the top levels of Virginia government. Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would be next in line if Northam were to resign, was confronted with sexual misconduct allegations earlier this week and denied the accusations, calling them a political smear.

RELATED: Users respond to Kim Kardashian's 'blackface' controversy  

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Users respond to Kim Kardashian's 'blackface' controversy
https://t.co/8quLJcq6Ai via @TeenVogue. I really wish people would stop w/the dumb shit... Tanned and blackface ARE not the same..
@KimKardashian You use a filter on a picture and people accuse you of doing blackface... if you lighten a picture,… https://t.co/ZtrVIyAzTp
To those who never shine a light on racism ever but always post a video/tweets to defend Kim Kardashian black face ad... eye see you.
Kim Kardashian On Blackface Controversy: ‘I Was Really Tan’ https://t.co/cfz4xAOWkx https://t.co/tw3eSmbtf6
I'm not afraid to say it. This IS NOT BLACKFACE. @KimKardashian it's lighting used to accentuate features. Stop cri… https://t.co/8Edq314c1e
@KimKardashian your blackface photo is not offensive by no means. I support you to the fullest. Much love! #KKWBeauty #KimKardashian #haters
People going after @KimKardashian for being Blackface but not going after the person who edited the photo to make h… https://t.co/ll3yqcCVXY
@KimKardashian what you did was not blackface
@KimKardashian being #blackface is like white women saying Black Women #WhiteHair #culturalappropriation #doublestandards
@KimKardashian You use a filter on a picture and people accuse you of doing blackface... if you lighten a picture,… https://t.co/ZtrVIyAzTp
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Herring would be next in line to be governor after those two men.

In the statement, Herring said he and two friends dressed up to look like rappers they listened to, including Kurtis Blow, admitting: "It sounds ridiculous even now writing it."

"That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others. It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then."

Herring, who plans to run for governor in 2021, is among those who have urged Northam to resign as governor after the discovery of a photo of someone in blackface on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. The photo that appeared in Northam's half-page profile shows someone in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Barakat contributed to this report.

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