Northam's tenure took a turn at the beginning of February when an image surfaced from his medical school yearbook showing two men side by side ― one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan uniform.
"I'm not as devastated by blackface and neither will I hold a person accountable for what they did 35 years ago, when this election for him as governor was not based upon who he was 35 years ago", said the grey-suited 52-year-old.
Fairfax is one of three top Democrats in the state engulfed by scandal this month.
If the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general all left office or were removed, the speaker of the House would become governor. On Friday, Watson also came forward, alleging that he assaulted her when they were university students in 2000.
Northam said Fairfax would have to step aside if sexual assault allegations against him were found to be true.
Some were also quick to remind her about the recent scandal involving current Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and a racist photo from his medical yearbook. This prompted the two women who have accused Fairfax of assault to say they'd be willing to testify in any impeachment proceedings.
Party leaders in the state and across the nation have now called for Northam and Fairfax to resign over their separate accusations.
Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two USA senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls. Fairfax has denied wrongdoing. Fairfax, meanwhile, says that he is the target of "a coordinated smear campaign", though it's not clear who could be responsible for the coordination.
Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi attend National Prayer Breakfast
Trump thanks faith leaders for supporting his administration's criminal justice reform efforts. Participants seemed particularly excited about the president's comments on abortion.
The incident probably won't do much to convince his party to retract its almost unanimous call for his resignation.
A Virginia Democrat who had planned to file articles of impeachment against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax on Monday now says he won't be going ahead with it after all; at least not yet. In the clip, King asked Northam why he still thinks he deserves the job "when so many people are calling for you to step down?"
Asked Sunday for his opinion on his subordinates, Northam said in the CBS interview that it's up to Fairfax and Herring to decide whether they want to remain in office. Tim Kaine and almost the state's entire Democratic congressional delegation, among others.
Northam's pledge Sunday to work on healing Virginia's racial divide was his second in as many days.
"Virginia needs someone that can heal". Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted last week he wore blackface at a 1980 party.
The governor originally acknowledged appearing in the photo and then backtracked the next day at a nationally televised news conference, where he said he did not believe he was in the photo, but did admit to donning blackface at a dance competition in Texas.
If Fairfax were to leave, there's no consensus on who could replace him.
"We are confident that once the Virginia legislature hears Dr. Tyson's harrowing account of this sexual assault, the testimony of many corroborating witnesses, and evidence of his attempts to mislead the public about The Washington Post's decision not to run a story in 2018, it will conclude that he lacks the character, fitness, and credibility to serve in any capacity", the statement said.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam talks during an interview at the Governor's Mansion, Febuary 9, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.