“Happy birthday to my good friend and our great governor,” McAuliffe said of Northam on Twitter Monday.
The praise for the state’s current governor comes despite McAuliffe previously calling for Northam to step down after a racist photo featuring Northam emerged in 2019.
“Ralph is a good, moral, decent man. And may have made some mistakes in his past. We all have made mistakes. Ralph will do the right thing for the commonwealth of Virginia. He will put Virginia first. And I think that will happen relatively soon,” McAuliffe said of the prospect of Northam resigning amid the scandal.
At issue at the time was a photo of a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit that appeared in Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook.
Northam immediately apologized for the photo, though he stopped short of resigning over the controversy.
“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,” Northam said at the time. “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”
But a day later Northam backtracked on the confession, instead saying that neither man in the photo was him.
An investigation into the photo proved to be inconclusive, with investigators unable to determine whether or not the governor was in the photo.
“No one we interviewed told us the governor was in the photograph, and no one could positively state who was in the photograph,” the investigators said.
McAuliffe is running to replace Northam in this year’s election.