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. Jim Bob

    Confederate flag means the same as Nazi flag: a nation's foundation on genocide.

    April 7, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Luke Brown

    Why is it that we white people always leave it to black people to challenge public officials who do stupid things like this? This is an affront to every American.

    I am a very proud white southerner, but believe me the Civil War was all about rebellion against the United States and slavery. Sorry Governor Bob, I won't be dancing in the streets during your Confederate History Month.

    If anyone's courage and honor should be commemorated, it is that of African Americans who were slaves ... and their many living descendants who still put up with this insulting crap.

    April 7, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. Hammerer

    The Gov. was not on his knees begging for forgiveness. Does he not understand that he offended a black man. That is unforgiveable in the US today.
    .

    April 7, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. Mike in NYC

    I can't remember ever hearing a black politician apologize for anything. This could be explained by a generally lower moral sense, but there's also a gut realization among non-whites, which seems to escape most whites, that apologizing makes one look weak. If you're backed into a corner, then use some other word, "regret" or "saddened" or whatnot, but never, ever apologize.

    Really, if you're going to say something that anyone with half a brain can predict will generate "outrage," only to prostrate yourself afterward, you'll not only look spineless, but stupid as well.

    April 7, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  5. Indiana Voter

    Now Marsh know how a lot of Americans feel about Obama. If you take his statements and replace the name McDonnell with the name Obama, it is the same thing the President is doing and the description would fit perfectly.

    I don't accept Marsh and he needs to go. Marsh is not really offended. He is trying to drum up trouble and votes.

    April 7, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. JK Ashburn, VA

    Who cares whether this PC nut case accepts his apology or not?

    April 7, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    Confederate history month? Are you serious? What's the message being sent here...that Barack Obama should be a slave instead of the President of the United States? Is this what the "conservative" movement is about...the resurgance of the Confederacy?

    April 7, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. kygirl

    I agree with this lawmaker. The governor only apologized after getting a lot of flack. He need to get his head out of the Civil War days. I can understand Black History month, since black achievements WERE purposefully left out of history books. If it wasn't for Black History month, many would not have known the accomplishments of Blacks back in the pre-civil rights days. However, confederate history has been given to all of us since we started going to school.

    If he wants to go back in history, add Native American Country History month because we were there before anyone else.

    April 7, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Mary Ann in VA

    I am so glad that the Governor , Lt Governor and some of our congress persons are showing their true colors. Crap like this will follow them like a stinky skunk. I predict no national office for them and no running mate positions either. No one is going to touch them with a ten foot pole.

    April 7, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. John (N) VA

    As a black man, I don't care what the Gov meant to say or if he intended to leave out a reference to slavery, we all know it existed why in the hell do I need to keep being reminded of what my late brothers and sisters went through. I mean come on this is 2010 how can we move forward if we keep bringing up the past, stop picking apart every comment or speech our elected officials make. use this energy to build up this country instead of dividing it, I challenge everyone to post and make something positive out of this non issue.

    April 7, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  11. Repugnants are the US Taliban

    McDonnell is just another ignorant Republican hate monger trying to rouse up the morons and bigots and then trying to back pedal his way out of the obvious, Virginia should be ashamed they have elected such a scumbag as Govenor!

    April 7, 2010 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. How horrible!

    McDonnell should resign.

    April 7, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Daniel

    Why have a Confederate History Month at all? The time period in question is only four years (or less) of Virginia's almost 400-year history as a colony and as a state. It was merely a rebellion and the rebellion was put down. There are confederate soldiers in my family's cemeteries (both sides). They fought because they had to (conscription) and they had very little to gain for risking their lives on the battlefield. They were fighting for THE MAN. It's time to let the wounds totally heal and let those events slide into ancient history.

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. Ran out of race cards

    Still waiting for the post-racial era to begin...

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  15. Stacie

    Apparently, Donna is a better woman than I. I will not accept this lame attempt at an apology. Not mentioning slavery in Confederate History Month declaration is a bit more than an "omission".

    April 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. Charlie in Maine

    Governor: Slavery omission 'a mistake'

    Hell yeah it was a mistake. It was the last social issue that his party was on the right side of and he forgets to mention it. Bummer dude.

    April 7, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Ginaandfriends

    Rep.Gov mcdonnell needs to read up on his history. He wants April to be confederate history month.he just wants to omit slavery because he thinks it wasn't important.he's a moron...

    April 7, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  18. Sense

    Slavery was the a key economic engine of southern plantation production and the main reason the civil war was fought. To not acknowledge slavery is simply ignorant.

    April 7, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. Ken Myers

    Donna with all due respect, that apology was insufficient. How come it's forgivable to overlook the breadth of the African-American experience in this country. I would suggest you visit the Cotton Exchange building in Winston Salem. It depicts all the contributors to the cotton industry, save one notable party...the unpaid labor, who suffered outrageous atrocities. This proclamation fails to recognize our contributions, suffering and that fact shows the smallness of the Governor of Virginia. Elections indeed do have consequences.

    April 7, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. K. Stanford

    Who needs to apologize to who here!!!!
    the Governor did not in any way "start off on the wrong foot" no Race, Creed or Religion was insulted, it is time for the Virginia Confederate History month,what kind of History is being taught now if we can't teach the next Generations on how our Nation became the Greatest Nation on earth, what have we done to History then? (We learn from it, we don't re-write it because it offends someone), Slavery came with us when our Ancestors left England, Slavery wasn't just the cause that made this country split between North and South, (do your History again.) so every time the word Confederate is heard or the Confederate Flag is see it becomes racist,don't you think its time to move on?? (its all Political between Dems,and Rep.),so where does the people come in, you know ' We the People'. wake up, slavery is over,don't keep beating our History in the ground with the Racist Crap!!!!
    and I thought we all were AMERICANS.

    April 7, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. FloridaRes

    McDonnell's pre-written statement was carefully composed and stated the Gov's true feelings. What Slavery? 500,000 human beings were property owned by Virginian slave owners. They were not considered in any way as human, they were property and in McDonnell's and other Southerners minds, they are not a reason for the Civil War. McDonnell is a Revisionist – changing history to remove the awful ownership of human beings from the Confederacy. To give any kind of honor to the Confederacy as McDonnell has done is awful and should never be done. If he truly believed what he said in his apology, he would never have made the initial statement in the 1st place!

    April 7, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. Independent_me

    The Republicans are busy rewriting history...
    Haven't you noticed that, CNN?

    April 7, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. John

    Republicans: Eager to commemorate the pomp and glory of Confederate history but who somehow seem to forget the less virtuous realities of that era.

    April 7, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  24. correct?

    everybody is just too sensitive these days,politically correct this, politically correct that, ethnic this, ethnic that. don't call me that, don't call me that,it grow some tough skin people,get over it

    April 7, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  25. aiych

    First the modification of textbooks in Texas to be more conservative and now this...the more they try to erase the past the harder it will bite them back.

    April 7, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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