In the midst of the ongoing controversy over a racist photograph on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page, a photograph of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) posing in front of a Confederate flag is making the rounds on social media.
Lots of folks tweeting out this photo of @senatemajldr so I asked his office about it.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 3, 2019
A spokesman suggested Leader McConnell wouldn’t pose for such a photo today as he did “30 years or so ago”... 1/4 https://t.co/fkd5eOzlHF
The photograph of McConnell, which apparently shows the senator posing in front of a large Confederate flag, had previously surfaced in 2015, according to Snopes. The photo was allegedly taken at a Sons of Confederate Veterans event in the early ’90s.
Following the revelation of the racist yearbook photograph, Democratic Gov. Northam has refused to step down despite facing mounting pressure to resign. The photograph in question shows one person apparently wearing blackface posing with a person dressed in KKK robes. The governor initially apologized on Friday for appearing in the photo, before denying that he was either figure in the photograph in a news conference on Saturday.
The photograph of McConnell has regained traction on social media in the past few day, in part spurned on by the controversy over Northam’s photograph. Some users on Twitter cited the photograph as an example of Republican hypocrisy in condemning the Democratic governor’s alleged photograph while apparently being soft on racism within their own party.
Northam was in blackface and he’s awful and it’s great that he’s cancelled.— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) February 2, 2019
Now can we do Mitch McConnell gleefully posing in front of a confederate flag with that big, bright McConnell smile?
Northam should resign. But I love how the GOP is indignant while supporting current GOP racists like Trump (Nazi’s are fine people), Steve King (open white supremacist), Cindy Hyde-Smith (wants to sit front row at a lynching), and confederate flag McConnell. #Hypocrisy— Resistance Rosie (@rosie_gilrobles) February 3, 2019
“This picture gets ‘attention on social media’ frequently,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in a statement to TIME. “The left trots it out every time Sen. McConnell speaks out on race or the Confederate flag–as he did on Charlottesville, the Confederate flag over SC’s capitol, removing Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky capitol, his comments on Steve King and so on. They’ve been doing this for many, many years.”
Popp also stated that the picture was apparently from a Sons of Confederate Veterans event “30 years ago or so.”
Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Northam’s own state’s senior Democratic lawmakers, are calling on the governor to resign. Republican leaders have also criticized the governor, with President Trump calling Northam’s conduct “unforgivable” on Twitter.