Let’s just start off by saying that Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax ain’t shit.
He already indicated his potential ain’t shitness back in 2019, when he likened the sexual assault allegations made against him by two women to the racist lynchings of black people in the state of Virginia throughout history.
But Fairfax has now proven his ain’t shitness very definitively, with statements he made during his turn at the Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, saying he has been treated like George Floyd and Emmett Till.
For context: In 2019, two women made public allegations that Fairfax assaulted them. Vanessa Tyson, a professor, said he assaulted her at the 2014 Democratic National Convention, while a second woman, Meredith Watson, issued a statement saying he raped her in 2000.
Fairfax has denied the allegations, and ignored calls to resign when the allegations initially went public—even telling The Root at the time that he was feeling “very relaxed” at work amidst the furor.
But according to his outrageous statements at Tuesday’s debates, he’s been smarting.
NBC News reports that Fairfax was asked about how he envisions the future of law enforcement in Virginia.
This is how he responded:
“The murder of George Floyd was horrific,” Fairfax said. “But it recalls a history in Virginia and in our nation where African Americans, in particular 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, who is Black, then raised the example of the allegations in 2019, saying he was “falsely accused” of sexual assault. Fairfax specifically singled out McAuliffe’s response when the allegations surfaced. The other candidates had also called for his resignation following the allegations.
“Everyone here on the stage called for my immediate resignation, including Terry McAuliffe three minutes after a press release came out,” Fairfax said. “He treated me like George Floyd; he treated me like Emmett Till — no due process, immediately assumed my guilt. I have a son and a daughter. I don’t ever want my daughter to be assaulted, I don’t want my son to be falsely accused. And yet this is the real world that we live in.”
“We need to speak truth to power and be very clear about how it impacts people’s lives,” Fairfax added.
Sir—you have a life!!!!
George Floyd does not.
The child that was Emmett Till does not.
How dare you.
The injustices done to Floyd and Till were less about whether they were accused of something they denied being guilty of—but more that they were summarily KILLED, in the most gruesome of ways and in large part because of their race.
How dare this man.
But anything goes in politics, and that clearly includes the most basic sense of tact—given that George Floyd’s family is currently living through a trial of his accused killer, complete with video footage showing precisely how their loved one’s life was taken. Though Fairfax is not only still alive but has also remained in his public office despite the allegations against him, his spokesperson doubled down on the lieutenant governor’s assertion that he is a victim of the most egregious kind of racism.
From NBC News:
Lauren Burke, a spokesperson for Fairfax, told NBC News that the lieutenant governor was trying to point out that he had to ask numerous times for investigations into his allegations, to no avail.
“As a Black man who occupies the second highest position in Virginia, he received no due process from Terry McAuliffe — the allegation alone was conviction, as McAuliffe demanded the lieutenant governor ‘immediately resign’ minutes after a press release,” she said. “Who can claim to believe in racial justice without due process? If the second highest Black person in Virginia can’t get basic due process what chance does anyone else in Virginia have?”
The meaning of all kinds of words are now up for debate apparently. Fairfax and his team are trying to claim that an allegation equates to conviction, and that a request to resign equates to “being put to death” which is how Merriam-Webster defines lynching.
And the name of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who white supremacists tortured and gruesomely killed in 1955, is apparently becoming a touchstone for politicians wanting to deny sexual assault allegations in the most hyperbolic, offensive of terms.
In New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has racked up at least eight sexual harassment complaints, Democratic Party members have also fixed their mouths to compare the Italian-American politician to Till—a Black child whose eyes were gouged out after he was beaten, later shot, then tied to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire and dumped in a river.
“In our world, no matter how heinous the crime committed, we presume innocence until guilt is proven. That standard, when we adhere to it, protects you and me. And when it is not adhered to, when a mob hangs Emmett Till, the “justice” turns out to be a crime itself,” said George Latimer, Westchester county executive and a white man, in a Facebook post defending Cuomo first reported by Talk of the Sound. Latimer lated deleted the comments.
All of these politicians, but Fairfax especially needs to scrounge up some decency, put some respect on the names of Emmett Till and George Floyd, apologize to their families and keep their loved ones’ names out of his mouth.
The absolute nerve.