Gov. Ralph Northam calls slaves 'indentured servants' in interview, gets corrected

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was corrected mid-interview for calling slaves “indentured servants.”

While speaking with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, the scandal-plagued Democrat was prompted to discuss his experience in dealing with his own public admission to having worn blackface in 1984.

“We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe,” Northam began before he was swiftly corrected by King:

Indentured servants were men and women who signed a contract that stipulated they would come to America and work for a certain number of years in exchange for passage, room, board and freedom dues. Slaves were brought here ― against their will ― and forced to work without any hope of gaining their freedom. Those slaves who chose to flee their “masters” were beaten, starved and/or killed.

In the interview, which is set to air Monday, Northam again refused to step down amid widespread and bipartisan calls for his resignation.

“Virginia needs someone that can heal,” he told King. “There’s no better person to do that than a doctor. Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere.”

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Northam is under fire for a racial photo that appeared in his college yearbook. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pauses during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Resisting widespread calls for his resignation, Northam on Saturday vowed to remain in office after disavowing a racist photograph that appeared under his name in his 1984 medical school yearbook. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, accompanied by his wife, Pam, speaks during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Northam is under fire for a racial photo that appeared in his college yearbook. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pauses during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Northam is under fire for a racial photo that appeared in his college yearbook. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - May 21: Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam takes part in a candidate forum put on by Americans for Responsible Solutions at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town on Sunday May 21, 2017 in Alexandria, VA. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama campaigns in support of Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for governor, at a rally with supporters in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who is campaigning to be elected as the state's governor, and his wife Pam, cast their ballots at the East Ocean View Community Center in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Julia Rendleman
FAIRFAX, VA - APRIL 29: Tom Perriello, left, shakes hands with Ralph Northam at the start of the event. Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates, Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello held their first debate on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 08: Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam visits Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to visit with airport workers on Wednesday March 08, 2017 in Arlington, VA. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, cheer on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Ralph Northam (R) is sworn in as Virginia's lieutenant governor by retired Judge Glen Tyler in Richmond, Virginia, January 11, 2014. The ceremony marks the first time in a quarter century that Democrats will hold all three of the state's top elective posts: governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. REUTERS/Mike Theiler (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
FALLS CHURCH, VA - OCTOBER 19: Hillary Rodham Clinton, center right in red, stands with the Democratic ticket as she endorses Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, far right, at a Women for Terry rallyon October, 19, 2013 in Falls Church, VA. Pictured from left, Sen Mark Herring, Sen. Ralph Northam, Clinton, and McAuliffe. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, take a selfie on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 2: Ralph Northam greets supporters in front of the venue as progressive and labor groups from across the Commonwealth host a forum for him and fellow candidate Tom Perriello to discuss Virginia's 2017 Governor's race on May, 02, 2017 in Arlington, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Virginia Democratic governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (R) celebrates with lieutenant governor-elect Ralph Northam (L) at their election night victory rally in Tyson's Corner, Virginia November 5, 2013. McAuliffe defeated Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in today's governor's election in Virginia. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
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Northam’s tenure took a turn at the beginning of February when an image surfaced from his medical school yearbook showing two men side by side ― one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan uniform. The governor initially admitted to being one of the individuals pictured, then changed his story, claiming he wasn’t in that particular photo but wore blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume in a dance competition that same year.

To further complicate matters, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), the man who would replace Northam if he resigned, has been accused by two women of sexual assault, prompting demands for his own resignation. According to NBC News, both Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson are ready to testify should an impeachment hearing occur as one lawmaker has threatened.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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