April 7th, 2010
08:14 PM ET
5 years ago

Apology not accepted, lawmaker says of McDonnell

'I expect respect from him and toward me and my constituents.  If he continues to do this, I’m not going to believe his apologies,' Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III said of the state's governor Bob McDonnell.
'I expect respect from him and toward me and my constituents. If he continues to do this, I’m not going to believe his apologies,' Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III said of the state's governor Bob McDonnell.

Washington (CNN) – An African-American Virginia lawmaker said Wednesday that he is not yet ready to accept an apology from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, suggesting McDonnell’s misstep regarding Virginia’s confederate history is part of a pattern which calls the governor’s sincerity into question.

The Republican governor apologized earlier Wednesday after coming under criticism for issuing a proclamation that declared April to be Confederate History Month in the state but which made no mention of slavery.

Earlier: Not mentioning slavery 'a mistake,' McDonnell says

“The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed,” McDonnell said in a statement. The governor also announced that his proclamation would be amended to mention slavery and call it “an evil and inhumane practice.”

But Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III said the mea culpa was not enough.

“He has a right to apologize,” Marsh, a Democrat, said on CNN’s “John King, USA,” “but I don’t accept that as a good answer because this is a pattern of this governor. He says the wrong thing, he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology. And this has happened many, many times so I think it’s a question of whether or not he’s sincere or not.”

Marsh also faulted McDonnell for not being sufficiently inclusive in how he governs Virginia.

“He set a high standard for himself,” Marsh said of McDonnell. “He said he was going to bring Virginians together, he was going to reach out and be the governor for all Virginians. But, so far, his actions haven’t demonstrated that. And this is the latest in a series of insults to a sizeable segment of Virginia. And I just think that we need to be careful – that you can do something and apologize and keep on doing it again. And I don’t think that’s the right way to govern all the people.”

Marsh added that he accepted McDonnell as “my governor,” but added “I expect respect from him and toward me and my constituents. If he continues to do this, I’m not going to believe his apologies. If he’s sincere then I’ll accept his apologies but, so far, he’s starting off on the wrong foot.”

The Virginia lawmaker also told King he’d be “glad” to meet with McDonnell.

While Marsh held his ground when it came to the Republican governor, McDonnell’s apology was accepted by a prominent, African-American Democrat.

“My great, great grandparents, their offspring and others were split up in the Commonwealth of Virginia & sold into slavery,” Donna Brazile posted on Twitter. “Apology accepted,” the Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor declared.

McDonnell was invited to appear on the Wednesday broadcast of “John King, USA” and the governor continues to have an invitation to come on the program, King said.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Extra • JKUSA • John King USA • Popular Posts • Virginia
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Ricky

    This is whats wrong with this country as far as the history is taught by teachers today.Any one can get a copy of the proclamation ecmancipation and see that it only freed the slaves in the confederate states.What about all the slaves in the northern states.Does this turn on any lightbulbs on in any ones head. If the war was about slavery and not greed from the us government, then why did it take over two years for proclamation ecmancipation to be enacted.Why did the family of Abraham Lincolns wife keep slaves thoughout the war. Why did the union General Grant keep slaves during the civil war, and the confederate General Lee have none.Why was there race riots in New York City during the civil war where thousands of blacks were killed.

    April 7, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Perecorp

    Complete racism and antiquated southern arrogance. You didn't succeed at splitting the union and trying to honor traitors borders on treason!

    April 7, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. JON

    McDonnell apology is a fake. He believes in a all white/straight Virginian government. First it was taking rights away from gay's next he'll try African Americans and who next.

    April 7, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Black history month, MLK Day, the NAACP, and the CBC are just not enough pittance for the whites to be reminded of their historic guilt! Never mond the Civel War along with slavery ended in 1865, the Civil Rights movements in the 1960s, and the fact that there is a black President currently! To the race-baiting folks like Marsh, I say get an education, get a job, and GET ON WITH YOUR LIVES!

    April 7, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Obama the Liar

    Sen. Henry Marsh III--go pound sand.

    April 7, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. ib

    Why do people try to turn everything into racism anymore. This is not about race it is about history of our state. No one thinks there was anything good about slavery but the civil war was a big part of this states history and should not be ignored.

    April 7, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Nunzio

    I am ashamed to live in Virginia right now. When will we stop fighting the war of 1861? Slavery was wrong then and it is wrong today. This man is not fit to govern.

    April 7, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. usualone

    As a "white" American, I am wondering why there are no "whites" on the networks showing the irresponsibility of the governor's remarks. He is living in the sad past and his apology is weak at its best.

    April 7, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Hot Dog

    People are going to regret that they ever elected McDonnel as governor of Virginia. His legacy will end up much like Governor Gilmore. Gilmore was one of the worse to hold the office of governor for the state of Virginia.

    April 7, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Talk about revisionist history! Richmond, VA was the capital of the Confederacy – how do you recognize the Confederacy without mentioning slavery?

    I'd say the biggest misstep is Virginia elected Bob McDonnell governor ....

    April 7, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  11. marie

    I don't understand what is wrong with these people. How can you ever leave off slavery. I think that he is a racist and God will reveal who he really is. I can't believe that people don't see anything wrong with this guy. I live in Maryland and this should be a wake up call for everybody to get out and vote. Where were you guys when he was elected, I know Craig Deeds had a chance if you all would have gotten up off your behinds and voted. Do the right thing next time and vote.

    April 7, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. Ricky

    The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a heritage organization with a vast knowledge of the war for independence. I am a member and I can tell you that I have never met a man or woman associated with the UDC or the SCV that thinks slavery was ok , but don't blame the south on what was started way before the southern states were in existance. Cambell Brown ask how long are we going to have these arguments about the confederacy , the answer is until the true history of the south is told and our ancestors get the respect they deserved.

    April 7, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  13. Eric in WV

    If this is the way Marsh feels then he needs to work to repeal Black History Month. Why does one group get to have a history month but another doesn't? That's what I thought we fought to end in this country! Let's face it, as long as we continue to talk black and white we will NEVER make progress......

    April 7, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. james

    Henry Marsh is a 75-year-old blithering boob who was so concerned about the rules of the legislature this past session that he formed a separate committee specifically so he could reject four pro-gun bills. Couldn't put them through the regular governmental process; no, this guy flaunted his power to kill bills that polls showed 70 percent of Virginians wanted passed.

    We don't care if you won't accept the apology, you wasted old fart.

    April 7, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Todd

    What is the big shocker? Conservatives are racaists. Duh. It is why when Democrats gave up racism as and became the party of civil rights and equality before the law former southern conservatives fled the party to form the backbone of todays conservative racist tea bagging republicons. We should all thank mcdonald for reminding us what we get if we are dumb enough to vote republicon. And christie in NJ is also giving us some harsh reminders as well, as he seeks to destroy the state's system of public school s and universities. Friends don't let friends vote republicon.

    April 7, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  16. JES

    Get over it already.

    Everytime a white person says or doesn't say something they are a raceist.

    People make mistakes but it doesn't seem good enough to apologize.

    I am tired of have people call my race a raceist when all that seems to do is to stir up the pot.

    I kone there are still raceist out there but it's on all sides.

    April 7, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. Who cares

    Who cares if Marsh is upset. He's just some unknown state lawmaker trying to make a national name for himself over nothing. The Civil War happened, Virginia fought on the side of the South, it's part of the state's history so get over it and yourself Marsh, nobody cares what you think or are offended by.

    April 7, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. ben

    get rid of black history month and confederate month.

    April 7, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. TexasBlue

    I agree....apology shouldn't be accepted. Do you really think he is sincere in his apology? Does anyone really believe that this "celebration of Confederate History Month" was intended to include an acknowledgment of slavery? Give me a break. This was no oversight.

    April 7, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. jules sand-perkins

    Govenor McDonnell sent enough of a message to his base by making this proclamation in the first place. The message would have just as clear had he included a wink and a reference to slavery.
    The apology implies another wink to his base with a condescending, "oh, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, honey. I wouldn't do that for anything!"
    Nobody can deliver that line as well as a Southern Caucasian lady of a certain age.

    April 7, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. Tim

    Is this Governor for real??? And are you sure he is not from Idaho
    ???

    April 7, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. tj of Cedar Fork

    Well, like the man said..'because this is a pattern of this governor'. We knew what this man was about. We knew this man plays the political game. We knew this man would lead Virginia backwards. For those that voted for him, they turned a blind eye; they are seeing him now for his true beliefs..shame on them, shame on him. I sincerely hope the young citizens of this state will begin to hear and see what this governor is really about and when the time comes to vote again, correct the course that we are now on.

    April 7, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  23. Josh

    You know what the Confederacy is no more the Federal government is still here, so why are we celebrating a former enemy of the United States should we have Nazi history month and British history month, this is America not the Confederacy. unbelievable

    April 7, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Bob

    I am so sick of political correctness. So this governor did not put the proper language in for this month. BIG DEAL!! Get over it. Marsh, get the chip off of your shoulder. Not everyone is a racist including those who are republicans out there. Everyone needs to grow up and drop this never ending whining.

    April 7, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. toughlove

    The sad thing is the race card is so over-played that it muddies the water when there is a need for legitimate dialogue. The Left has tried to highjack race for their political agenda and rather than help, it works to impede the country from moving forward more effectively.

    April 7, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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