THROWBACK THURSDAY to February 2019, when Virginia Democrats made the Commonwealth a national embarrassment. First, the infamous photo of Governor Ralph Northam wearing either a KKK robe or blackface (he still won’t say which) surfaced. Then Attorney General Mark Herring – who bowed out of the governor’s race last week – admitted that he too had a history of dressing in racist costumes.
Then came the deeply disturbing allegations of sexual violence against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. Multiple women came forward with detailed and graphic descriptions of Fairfax sexually assaulting them, including accusing him of rape.
As the #MeToo movement was proclaiming “believe all women,” Fairfax made wild accusations that he was being framed by “racists,” including former Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and attempted to discredit his accusers – but they fought back.
College professor Vanessa Tyson was the first to share her story, telling the Washington Post:
“My only motive in speaking now is to refute Mr. Fairfax’s falsehoods and aspersions of my character, and to provide what I believe is important information for Virginians to have as they make critical decisions that involve Mr. Fairfax,” she said.
She was quickly followed by the second accuser, Meredith Watson, described as an “intensely private single mother” who felt compelled to come forward to tell the truth about Fairfax. Her attorney told the Associated Press:
“Ms. Watson’s principal goal for coming forward at this time was to support another victim of sexual assault who was being smeared by Fairfax,” Smith said Wednesday. “Her second goal is to not have a man who is a rapist rise to hold high political office in this country.”
To Fairfax, this was all apparently fun and games. He took a break from smearing his alleged victims to brag about how the sexual assault accusations “raised his public profile for good,” making this shocking statement to reporters:
Fairfax, who faces sexual assault allegations by two women, said the scandal has raised his public profile for good.
“Many people a year ago would not have recognized me, now they really do,” Fairfax said.
Virginia Democrats, some of whom initially called for Fairfax’s resignation, have recently avoided saying whether they stand with their partisan ally or with his alleged victims. It remains to be seen whether they will maintain their silence as Fairfax moves forward with a run for the state’s highest office.