April 7th, 2010
08:14 PM ET
4 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. Dean in DC

    After Mark Warner and Tim Kaine McDonnell is a breath of fresh air. who cares about some proclamation on the confederacy. Only racists on the Liberal Socialist side do. See them come out of the woodwork at the drop of a hat. Where's al sharpton and jessie jackson?

    April 7, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. J.C. Fingertips

    If history serves me correctly, the South that represented the confederacy and its divisive policies and lifestyles lost the war. Is it amazing that it was a Republican president that understood to build a more perfect union, it will take “all” citizenry of the United States of America. Here is a Republican Governor that hopes the mentality of the south will rise again and spread throughout the south and the country. Bob McDonnell needs to wake up and check out the diversity and demographics of our great inclusive country.

    April 7, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. kravitz

    This is a guy Michael Steele is happy he got into office over Terry McAuliffe. And the GOP hoped would go far. Now, like Scott Brown, and George Allen, he backfired and took the republicans with him.

    April 7, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. Martin Williams

    Whats new, they say things like that and later apologize. The message is being delivered to the people you are trying to reach. We have an idiot like that in Georgia too named Sonny Purdue. They are also Southern governors and they all think like id.......ts.

    April 7, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. Ridgeway

    Who cares? It's tedious. Apologizing for crap that happened over a hundred years ago? Who cares what some low level politician like Marsh thinks about anything. I'm offended some of my ancestors died fighting for the North to free the slaves and I'm supposed to pay reparations. Knuckle headed moochers.

    April 7, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  6. Bonnie

    yea,yea,yea, blah,blah,blah, sorry,sorry,sorry, sorry I said it out loud, not sorry I meant it.

    April 7, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Steve

    Anyone still doubtful that a large part of the opposition to President Obama is racially motivated? If these Republican leader had solid genuine arguments against his policies, would they need to revert to this brand of race baiting? It is now up to all right minded Americans to stand up against these racists, for the good of our nation. and end the GOP once and for all!

    April 7, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. garc

    It goes totally in line with his thesis earlier that "working women and homosexuals" were destroying the family, if not the world. He's just showing his true colors, pardon the pun, which are lily white and bigoted.

    April 7, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. Navy Vet

    Oh, but Gov. Bob McDonnell did mention slavery. He said it was inconsequential to the confederate holiday and dismissed it.

    You know, slavery wasn't any big deal basking in the honorable light of the confederate flag. (extreme sarcasm intended)

    April 7, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. Where

    oh Lord, where's al, should be showing up any minute.

    April 7, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Frank

    He only apologized because an apology made sense as a political calculation. To celebrate the month for the confederacy with no reference to slavery is what is in his heart. He decided to so celebrate the month. He made an intentional decision to not include any reference to the horrors of slavery. When first asked about it, he defended this decision because slavery was not "significant." It is offensive in this day and age to celebrate the Confederacy at all.

    April 7, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  12. Peter

    I agree apology not accepted!!! African Americans have shed blood for this country too!!! Willingly and unwillingly!!! Its a sad day in America when African-Americans serving this country in all American wars are disrepected this way...the Gov ought to step down!

    April 7, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  13. mike

    LOL... you Dems are really trying too hard now :)

    April 7, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. William B. Rutherford III

    So according to Mr. Marsh, the governor hasn't lived up to his promise to unite Virginia. Should we expect him to be equally harsh on President Obama, who also ran on a campaign of "unifying" our country, but who has instead divided it?

    April 7, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Lucy

    It is a disgrace that CNN is firing up the divide between the races instead of trying to bring unity. We do not need more division in this country by bringing up the hurts and divisions of the past and this kind of interviews by Anderson Cooper just hurts the whole country. What a shame!!!!!.

    April 7, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. Deep South Independent

    He is only sorry because it caused so much trouble for him, even earlier in the day he was still defending it. He knew exactly what the proclamation said, and didn't say- not an honest omission, in my opinion. Another example of how a republican's actions speak louder than all they words they say about having a big tent that welcomes all people. By the way- I'm a white male, born and raised in the south, and I think this was very stupid and an attempt to downplay the true ugly history of the civil war and its causes.

    April 7, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. C.Z.

    Go Bob McDonnell! we must all learn to forgive. thanks mr. gov for apologizing.

    April 7, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. DAO LUYEN

    Back a while, I heard so many apolozies from Law Makers. How come just say bad thinks then asking forgive? Does Law Makers think we (people) are children?

    April 7, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    Well here is a surprise....a good ole' white Christian boy from the South omitting slavery...

    Please spare me, if it walks like a duck....

    April 7, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. rminva

    Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III is another example of a true racist projecting his own traits onto another individual.

    April 7, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. HypocriCNN

    Governor McDonnell's Apology Is Total Disrespectful And Insincere! His Move To Pull Such A Stunt Was Blatent And Calculated! In My Opinion, The Only Thing He Is Sorry About Is That He's Now Caught In The Crossfire Of His Political Games.

    April 7, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. bill werner

    sorry but slavery in the u.s.has been so long ago..
    no one alive today was in slavery in the u.s.
    maybe we should have indian history month...
    the civil war wasnt just about slavery
    and yes the north did distroy the south
    and blacks were not tortured or killed during the war
    as they are in there own continent today
    to me i cant believe any black person would try to play this
    game ater all these years.. besides the british were mostly responsible of bringing the black community to the u.s.
    who over in africa gave them up i
    i dont agree with slavery at all .. but what about the slavery going on today.. help a brother out.. quit winning.!!

    April 7, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  23. marty

    How many more generations of white people are going to have to apologize to black people for the fact that their great-great grandparents were slaves. My family came from Europe just a few generations ago and never owned slaves, never condoned slavery, never supported slavery in any way, and in fact worked for better lives for former slaves and their offspring. Do I apologize just because I'm whitte-that's not something I had any choice in. I feel badly for the 'offended' lawmaker. His refusal to accept an apology is only hurting himself and keeps the anger alive. His acceptance of the apology doesn't mean that what the governor said is somehow forgotten or okay. It just means that the lawmaker can sleep at night without the anger and bitterness he has now.

    April 7, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  24. bluebird

    Accept the apology and stop being such a giant baby.

    April 7, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  25. Antoine

    There was certainly no mistake.The governor surely isn't claiming that his omission was a quirk of memory. He clearly let people know the first time what he really thinks. It was a carefully calculated publication directed at his natural constituency. The revision is utterly meaningless and one can only hope it is as transparently meaningless to the decent citizens of the republic as it is to the racists at whom the governor is winking.

    Virginia voters who aren't racists and bigots and who voted for this creep should be ashamed of themselves.

    April 7, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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