The slew of scandals rocking Virginia state authorities expanded to the Republican Get together on Thursday as a neighborhood newspaper confirmed that State Senate Majority Chief Tommy Norment was one of many editors of a 1968 Virginia Army Institute (VMI) yearbook that contained quite a few racial slurs and no less than one blackface image.

In response, Norment, 72, recommended he was the sufferer of a smear marketing campaign supposed to distract from the a number of allegations of previous racism and sexual assault surrounding the state’s highest-ranking Democratic officers.

The Virginian-Pilot reported first reported that Norment was the managing editor of The Bomb, which included a photograph of a person in blackface standing with others in costumes and used the racial slurs “Chink” and “Jap” to explain a pupil from Thailand.

A caption beneath one {photograph} learn, “He was generally known as the ‘Barracks Jew’ having his fingers within the funds of the whole Corps.”

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In a press release, Norment condemned the usage of blackface; he additionally asserted he was not featured in any of the images and didn’t take any of the images.. He mentioned he was certainly one of seven individuals who labored on the yearbook and “can not endorse or affiliate” himself with every little thing in it.

Virginia's State Senate majority leader, Thomas Norment, R-James City County,  shares a laugh with Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, during a Senate session in Richmond on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia’s State Senate majority chief, Thomas Norment, R-James Metropolis County,  shares fun with Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, throughout a Senate session in Richmond on Thursday. (AP Picture/Steve Helber)

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“Using blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it,” Norment mentioned in a press release on Thursday, after earlier telling reporters he didn’t wish to focus on the subject. “As certainly one of seven engaged on a 359-page yearbook, I can not endorse or affiliate myself with each picture, entry, or phrase on every web page. Nevertheless, I’m not in any of the images referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the images in query.”

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Norment continued: “As my touch upon Web page 236 notes, I supported the combination of VMI. And in 1997, I led the trouble to have my alma mater embrace girls for the primary time.”

VMI permitted black college students to enroll starting in 1968. Whereas regulating pupil speech is difficult — “they have their First Modification rights,” the college’s communications director mentioned — a number of layers of college evaluate have since been added to the yearbook’s editorial course of.

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Norment, in his assertion, recommended that Democratic operatives had been hoping to distract the general public.

Virginia Military Institute (1968) yearbook photographs.

Virginia Army Institute (1968) yearbook images.

“With 114 editions of The Bomb obtainable on-line courting again to 1885, I’m not shocked that these eager to engulf Republican leaders within the present conditions involving the governor, lieutenant governor and legal professional normal would spotlight the yearbook from my commencement a half-century in the past,” Norment mentioned. “Regardless of all the distractions from the persevering with controversies involving our statewide elected officers, I’m intent on fulfilling the work of the folks of Virginia by passing a fiscally accountable price range that gives tax reduction for working households.”

First, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam was embroiled in controversy over a blackface {photograph} that appeared on his 1984 yearbook web page. Contradicting earlier statements, Northam held a information convention wherein he mentioned he was “satisfied” he was not within the racist picture on his yearbook web page. He additionally acknowledged having coloured his pores and skin black for an occasion he attended as pop star Michael Jackson.

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Then, a rape allegation in opposition to the following official within the line of succession, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, surfaced — and Fairfax insinuated Northam’s crew may very well be behind the leak.

In a weird twist, Fairfax has since retained the identical regulation agency that represented now-Supreme Court docket Affiliate Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was going via the affirmation course of and confronted decades-old sexual misconduct allegations.

On Wednesday, Virginia Democratic Lawyer Normal Mark Herring — who beforehand referred to as for Northam’s resignation — admitted to carrying blackface throughout a school get together in 1980.

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After which on Thursday, an aide informed Fox Information that Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., was made conscious of the allegation of sexual assault in opposition to Fairfax greater than a 12 months in the past.

The aide mentioned that Vanessa Tyson — who this week issued a press release detailing her accusation that Fairfax sexually assaulted her on the 2004 Democratic Nationwide Conference — initially simply mentioned there was a #MeToo allegation involving Fairfax.

Fox Information’ Adam Shaw and Ellison Barber contributed to this report.

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