New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t the only high-profile Democrat currently trying to ward off a potentially career-ending sex scandal.
According to the Washington Examiner, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax took time out of a Tuesday night Democratic gubernatorial primary debate against former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to defend himself against sexual assault allegations first lodged against him in 2019.
The Examiner reported that a woman named Vanessa Tyson had claimed nearly two years ago that Fairfax sexually assaulted her “at a hotel during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.” It wasn’t but days later that Meredith Watson said Fairfax similarly assaulted her while they were both attending Duke University, according to reports.
Fairfax has said his encounters with the women were consensual.
“Presumed to be guilty”
During Tuesday’s debate, the current lieutenant governor of Virginia drew comparisons between himself and George Floyd, the 46-year-old Minneapolis man who died under the knee of then-police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020, as well as Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was tortured and lynched after being kidnapped during a visit to Mississippi in the mid-1950s.
“The murder of George Floyd was horrific,” said Fairfax, who is only the second Black man to hold a statewide office in the commonwealth in its history, according to the Examiner.
“He recalls a history in Virginia and in our nation where African Americans — and particularly, African American men — are presumed to be guilty, are treated inhumanely, are given no due process, and have their lives impacted — in some cases, taken away — in an instant,” Fairfax added.
“A real-world example”
But Fairfax didn’t want to “just talk theoretically about what generally happens.”
“We have a real-world example, where I was falsely accused in 2019,” Fairfax said, explaining that he faced calls for his resignation from many on both sides of the political aisle, according to the Examiner. “Everyone here on the stage called for my immediate resignation, including Terry McAuliffe… He treated me like George Floyd, treated me like Emmett Till.”
Fairfax complained that he was afforded “no due process.”
“Immediately assumed my guilt. I have a son and a daughter,” he said. “I never want my daughter to be assaulted. I don’t want a son to be falsely accused. And yet, this is the real world that we live in.”
McAuliffe, for his part, called Fairfax’s remarks “shocking, unseemly, and insensitive,” according to Newsmax. “The murders of Emmett Till and George Floyd were traumatic and triggering for generations of Black people,” the former governor and current Democrat gubernatorial hopeful said of his opponent.