The Democrat Party of Virginia called for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-VA) to step down after two sexual assault allegations against him surfaced this week.
“We believe that allegations of sexual assault must be taken with the utmost seriousness,” Virginia Democrat Party chair Susan Swecker said in the statement Saturday. “Given the credible nature of the sexual assault claims against Lieutenant Governor Fairfax, it has become clear he can no longer fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the post.”
NEW: The Democratic Party of Virginia calls for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax amid allegations of sexual assault: "The Lieutenant Governor no longer has our confidence or support. He must resign." https://t.co/kD545rQKpE pic.twitter.com/leaL6TjAfY
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2019
“While the Lieutenant Governor deserves due process in this matter, it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth that he goes through this process as a private citizen,” the statement continued. “The Lieutenant Governor no longer has our confidence or support. He must resign.”
On Friday, a second woman, Meredith Watson, came forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault, alleging that the attack took place when the two were friends at Duke University in 2000. Watson said she and Fairfax were not romantically involved, nor had they ever dated prior to the alleged incident. The allegation surfaced after California college professor Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused the Virginia Democrat on Wednesday of forcing her to perform oral sex on him during the 2004 Democrat National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
In a statement Saturday, Fairfax renewed his denial of the accusations.
“This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said. “I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else. Our American values don’t just work when it’s convenient — they must be applied at the most difficult of times.”
Unconvinced by Fairfax’s multiple denials, several Democrat presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), called on him to step aside. “The multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling,” Booker tweeted Friday night. “They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign.”
Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope (D) warned that he will introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax unless he exits his post by Monday. “On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then.,” said Hope.
The accusations plunged Virginia politics further into turmoil. Fairfax was expected to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA), who faces calls to resign after a photo emerged of him and another individual in blackface and Ku Klux Klan attire. Virginia Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring is embroiled in a scandal of his own after admitting to wearing blackface while attending the University of Virginia.