PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President Donald Trump called Ralph Northam's actions "unforgivable" after the Virginia governor said Saturday afternoon that he does not believe he is either person in the racist photo that appeared in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.
"Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, 'I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo,'" Trump tweeted. "This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on 'super' late term abortion. Unforgivable!"
About 20 minutes later, Trump speculated about what Northam's Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, might be thinking about following the discovery of the racist yearbook photo.
"Ed Gillespie, who ran for Governor of the Great State of Virginia against Ralph Northam, must now be thinking Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty with regard to his Opposition Research Staff. If they find that terrible picture before the election, he wins by 20 points!"
Northam received 53.9-percent (1,405,041) to Gillespie’s 45-percent (1,173,326) of the vote in November of 2017.
The President is expected to spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach club, with the first lady.
The president's response comes after U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as Congressman Bobby Scott, joined the growing calls for Northam to resign.
“After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign. Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders. He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing,” the trio said in a joint statement.
The senior lawmakers previously issued statements condemning the photo, but did not call for the governor's resignation.
"I believe now and then that I am not either of the people in this photo," Northam said, denying that he had ever worn a KKK robe and hood or been drunk enough to forget a moment like this. "This was not me in that picture. That was not Ralph Northam."
Despite numerous calls for him to resign, Northam said he would try to win over those who want him out.
"I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia," he said, adding that resigning would be the easier way out.