Virginia Lt. Gov. Fairfax compares calls for his resignation to ‘terror lynchings’
Drew Angerer/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax spoke unexpectedly on the state’s Senate floor Sunday, where the embattled leader likened himself to a lynching victim over calls for his resignation in response to the sexual assault accusations made against him.
Moments before the legislative session ended, Republican Sen. Tommy Norment thanked Fairfax for his “professionalism” during the “stressful times,” prompting Fairfax to speak for about six minutes, comparing the accusations against him with “no facts” to terror lynchings that have occurred in the state of Virginia.
“If we go backwards and we rush to judgment and we allow for political lynchings without any due process, any facts, or any evidence being heard, then I think we do a disservice to this very body in which we all serve.”
He continued, “We talk about hundreds, at least a hundred terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those very same auspices…and yet we stand here, in a rush to judgment, with nothing but accusations and no facts. And we decide that we are willing to do the same thing.”
Fairfax also said that if he’d faced the same allegations 50 years ago, “it’d be a very different outcome.”
“I would not be standing up here on the dais,” he said. “A very different outcome would have happened with no facts, no due process, no evidence, no nothing.”
In the past month, two women have accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting them in the early 2000s. One of the assaults allegedly occurred in 2000, when Fairfax was a student at Duke University, and the other allegedly in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention. Fairfax, who has said he will not resign, “has consistently denied the unsubstantiated allegations against him and he has consistently requested a full, fair, independent, impartial, and non-political investigation by law enforcement,” a spokesperson for him said in a statement on Friday.
Fairfax’s comments came two days after House Republicans in Virginia announced they would “hold a meeting of the Courts of Justice Committee and invite all parties involved,” which would include the two women who have publicly accused Fairfax. Both women accepted that offer on Friday, but Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox said the day before that any hearing presented would not be an impeachment hearing.
The lieutenant governor, who turned 40 last week, said Sunday he’s “lived 40 years accusation-free.”
“There’s a reason for that, and none of this is a coincidence,” he said.
He also seemed to sending a warning of morality to those who appear to oppose him.
“Should anyone decide that they desire to see a downfall of me or the Constitution or of victims or of anyone else, I would just ask that you look and reflect and think about who you are, think about who we are and think about who we want to be,” he said.
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