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11 February 2019, 21:22 GMT

From Allan Smith

Because the three highest Democrats in Virginia are still involved for years in one of the biggest political scandals of the state, the Republicans have usually refrained from turning the knife.

With the exception of a small handful from national Republicans, the party has largely responded with caution to the revelations of a Blackface photo on Virginia Gov's medical school yearbook, which he has denied, or two women claiming that they were sexually assaulted years ago by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who denies the accusations. Although President Donald Trump has repeatedly weighed, he did not demand a resignation.

Many prominent Democrats, on the other hand, have called upon the leaders to leave their positions.

It can be difficult for the GOP to lead such an assignment, as the top official of the party, Trump, is facing several allegations of sexual harassment and accusations of racism, which he has repeatedly denied. The party also received a strong defense from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who during his confirmation last fall was confronted with – and emphatically denied – accusations of assault that allegedly occurred when he and his prosecutor, Christine Blasey Ford, were in high school .

Some republicans say that the party should remain ideological in accordance with the views adopted by the GOP in recent years, whether it is a fair trial regarding allegations of sexual misconduct or not allowing anyone's bad judgment from decades ago until the end of his or her life. her career.

Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and former Trump White House official, told NBC News: "It's good that the Republicans stay consistent, not quickly in the opinion, people let the process run smoothly."

"At the same time, I also think it's good for Republicans to force the media, force links, live up to the same standards that force the Republicans to live," he added.

Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for the presidential run of the Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016, told NBC News that he believes that "the Republicans are much more intellectual towards these scandals in Virginia."

"The pendulum begins to spin back a bit on the rush to the public figures for the past two years," Sullivan said. "Some very bad people have rightly done the horrible things they have done and paid the price, but I think there is an open feeling that in some cases there has been a rush to the judgment that was not common … Americans like all become a bit more cautious when they rush to judge until all the facts are finished. & # 39;

When we asked about the scandals in Virginia last week, the Republican Sen said. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina: "The people of Virginia seem to have the good worries" of the controversy.

Graham, a vocal defender of Kavanaugh during his confirmation process, called Fairfax, said, "you must have the facts" before you make a judgment.

"The accusation can not be self-confirming," he told reporters before a second woman accused Fairfax of sexual assault. & # 39; I do not know the lieutenant governor, but just stand in his shoes. I mean, how do you defend yourself about something that is 15 years old and there are really no facts to support the claim? I just do not believe that claim to be self-confirming. & # 39;

When commenting on the scandal, first Trump criticism of the campaign of Northam's Republican opponent in the 2017 governor race, Ed Gillespie, because they have not uncovered the material during the race.

But Trump too said that if the politicians were "republicans, much more powerful action would be taken". The president called Northam's look back at his first confession that he appeared on the yearbook photo. "unforgivable"and claimed "African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full screen in Virginia!"

In discussing the Virginia scandal with NBC News, the Republicans repeatedly expressed the perception of a double standard in responses to similar allegations against Democrats and Republicans.

Former GOP congressman and conservative radio host Joe Walsh told NBC News: "It's easy to look at this and say:" Look at the Democrats, ha ha ha. "I do not think we should. do, I think we should be more objective and this whole Gitcha game, I think we should stop to look at the broader principle. "

"Let's keep the democrats on the same lines that we want to hold onto and not just looking for a political advantage," he added.

While many prominent Virginia and national Democrats called upon Northam and Fairfax to resign, both men said they would not.

In a clip from a "CBS This Morning" interview that was aired on Sunday, Northam once again said he would not resign and instead healed the state & # 39; Northam had initially apologized for the photo, in which a person was blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes, but the next day he said he was not in the picture and did not know why he was on his page. He admitted, however, that he had ever worn Blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume for a dance competition in the same year in which the yearbook was published.

Fairfax has meanwhile hired Kavanaugh's legal team, even as one of his prosecutors sought the advice of the lawyers representing Blasey Ford. He is accused by Meredith Watson of raping her when they studied at Duke University in 2000 and forced Virginia Tyson to perform oral sex in 2004 when they were at the Democratic Convention in Boston.

Fairfax has emphatically denied the claims of both women and argues for an FBI investigation into the accusations.

Governor of Virginia Lt. Justin Fairfax attends the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019, in Richmond.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Both women, meanwhile, would testify in deposition proceedings, their lawyers said.

At the moment, however, there seems to be little support for deposition. On Monday, Virginia Democratic Del Patrick Hope confirmed its promise to quickly introduce a rejection measure against Fairfax if it did not resign.

Democrats are not so vocal in calling the official second in line with the governor, Attorney General Mark Herring, to resign after he admitted wearing Blackface when he was 19. Herring initially appealed to Northam to resign before he got his permission, which included an abundant apology.

At the end of last week, a Republican top Virginia was also touched by the scandal. Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment turned out to have been a top editor of a 1968 Virginia Military Institute yearbook with photos from students in Blackface and the use of racist offensive terms. Norment was not pictured on any of those photo's and said in a statement that black face is horrible & # 39; and & # 39; I strongly condemn & # 39 ;.

Should all three Democrats resign, Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, would become governor based on the line of succession.