House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. 

Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said Monday morning that he has no plans to try to force Gov. Ralph Northam from office as the fallout continues over a racist photo that appeared in Northam’s medical school yearbook.

“I think there’s a rightful hesitation about removal from office because obviously you have to consider that to some degree you’re overturning an election,” Cox told reporters outside his office at the Capitol.

Cox noted that General Assembly Republicans were among the “last” people to call for Northam to resign. The speaker said he continues to believe Northam has lost the ability to govern “regardless of the veracity of the photograph.” Cox said he’s not convinced the yearbook scandal meets the constitutional threshold for impeachment proceedings.

“That’s why we have called for the resignation," Cox said. “We hope that’s what the governor does. I think that would obviously be less pain for everyone.”

After the release of legislative budget proposals Sunday, lawmakers are heading to the Capitol for a marathon day. Cox said the House has to act on 300 bills and likely won’t be finished until this evening.

“This is just heartbreaking,” Cox said.

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