Northam told "CBS This Morning" in an interview broadcast Monday that he was "in a state of shock" and mistakenly took responsibility for the image of a man in blackface and a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit because he had never seen it before, even though it was on his yearbook page. "There's no better person to do that than a doctor".
The state capitol has been plunged into turmoil by the twin scandals.
Northam is one of three officials, all Democrats, at the top of the government in Virginia, an Atlantic coastal state, now engulfed in controversy. Next in line after those three Democrats would be Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox.
Meanwhile, a second woman accused Fairfax of sexual assault Friday, saying the Democrat raped her 19 years ago while they were students at Duke University. From there Northam claimed that because he has "strength", "courage" and "a moral compass", he was "not going anywhere". This prompted the two women who have accused Fairfax of assault to say they'd be willing to testify in any impeachment proceedings.
Fairfax, who has denied the allegations, has also faced widespread calls from Democratic leaders to step aside.
Fairfax has said that encounters with both women were consensual.
Since the two allegations against Fairfax were made, many top Democrats running for president in 2020 have called for Fairfax's resignation, including Sens. Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chances of winning GOP-held seats, but also several seats currently held by Democrats.
"And if these accusations are determined to be true, I don't think he's going to have any other option but to resign", Northam said.
Northam's assertion defies the condemnations issued recently by prominent Virginian politicians on both sides of the aisle - many of whom have also called on Fairfax, who is black, to step down for very different reasons.
Northam responds, "Yes. While we have made a lot of progress in Virginia - slavery has ended, schools have been desegregated, we have ended the Jim Crow laws, easier access to voting - it is abundantly clear that we still have a lot of work to do", Northam told King.
Fairfax emphatically denied the new allegation, as he did the first leveled earlier by Vanessa Tyson, a California college professor who said Fairfax forced her to perform sexual acts on him at a Boston hotel in 2004.
Virginia Governir Ralph Northam and his wife Pam leave the funeral of fallen Virginia State Trooper Lucas B. Dowell on February 9 in Chilhowie, Virginia.
He apologized about the yearbook photo, admitted to wearing blackface during a different event - during a dance contest, when he dressed up as Michael Jackson, he said - and said he is committed to learning from his mistakes.
Democratic lawmakers from Virginia have called on Fairfax to resign, as have Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Cory Booker of New Jersey - both 2020 presidential contenders - among others.
It's unclear who the people in the picture are, but the rest of the page is filled with pictures of Northam and lists his undergraduate alma mater and other information about him.
But amid all this turmoil, there is at least one thing that has not happened: Not one of the three men has bowed to public pressure and resigned.