Fox News host Jesse Watters said Republicans now have "get out of jail free cards" for their own scandals because of the blackface and sexual assault scandals currently embroiling Democratic politicians in Virginia. "And that's why I'm not going anywhere".
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.
The Democratic governor first said he was in the photo, then said he wasn't, then admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s when dressed as Michael Jackson for a dance competition.
GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM: Well, again we- we have worked very hard.
He says he'll "focus on race and equity" as his "commitment to Virginia" for the next three years. Next in line after Fairfax (should he resign or be removed) would be State Attorney General Mark Herring, who is also at the center of a scandal after admitting that he himself wore blackface in the past. Jennifer McClellan, the vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which has called on Fairfax to step down.
"It must take tremendous courage for women to step forward and talk about being the victim of sexual assault", Northam said. CBS's Gayle King asked.More news: Sixers Markelle Fultz Trade Press Release Doesn't Even Mention Him
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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 US senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Asked whether Fairfax should resign, Northam said, "That's going to be a decision that he needs to make".
Many elected officials and presidential hopefuls have called for Fairfax to resign after two women went public with allegations of sexual assault this week. Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate. "And I think he's lost the confidence of the people in order to be able to do that", said Wexton, one of three Democrats who flipped GOP-held House seats in Virginia in November.
Virginia's embattled lieutenant governor has urged authorities to investigate sexual assault allegations made against him, but he hasn't heeded calls to resign and it is unclear what comes next for the once-rising star of the state Democratic Party.
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. The scandal exploded when a second woman, Meredith Watson, issued a statement on Friday, claiming Fairfax raped her in 2000 while they were students at Duke University.
At the start of the week, Cox said there was little appetite among lawmakers to remove Northam through impeachment, saying resignation "would obviously be less pain for everyone". He's a Republican, which is giving the Democratic officerholders another reason to try to keep their positions.
Northam has been in seclusion all week, using tunnels to shuttle between the mansion and the nearby building where he has an office.