April 7th, 2010
06:53 PM ET
5 years ago

McDonnell: Not mentioning slavery was 'a mistake'

 '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,' Gov. McDonnell said in a statement Wednesday.
'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,' Gov. McDonnell said in a statement Wednesday.

Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that his recent proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month "contained a major omission."

Earlier: McDonnell names April Confederate History Month

"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 written statement. "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of 'profound regret' for the Commonwealth's history of slavery, which was the right thing to do.

McDonnell also noted that while Virginia had been the Capitol of the Confederacy, it was also the first state in the nation to elect an African-American governor. "America's history has been written in Virginia," McDonnell said. "We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility."

In his statement, McDonnell also announced that additional language regarding slavery will be added to the proclamation.

Prior to McDonnell's announcement, his Democratic predecessor issued a statement slamming the Republican governor.

McDonnell's original proclamation, "disregards history, is insensitive to the extraordinary efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the nation's wounds, and offends millions of Americans of all races and in all parts of our nation," said former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Popular Posts • Tim Kaine • Virginia
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. lil

    He want to forget about slavery. Now I guess the people of VA know what they voted for. Dont be fooled again. We are ALL FREE AMERICANS and should remember the whole confederacy as a stain on our history as Americans.

    April 7, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. A Real American

    McDonnell claims that "the Confederacy wasn't about continuing the institution of slavery, but that it was really about the states' rights vs. the rights of the federal government."

    I'd say that McDonnell's the one who needs a history lesson, but I'm absolutely certain that he knows what he's saying.

    "States' rights" has been code since the founding of this nation– first for slavery, and then, after the civil war, for segregation.

    April 7, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Johnie

    Too late, Guv. Such vital points as this should be front and center, not oh-sorry add-ons. Typical for a Republican.

    April 7, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. ralph williams

    this is just more evidence that the republican party is primarily a party of white america. I might add "older" white america.

    April 7, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Molly Weasley

    He only bothered to include slavery when he was getting slammed.

    Although I am a Northerner, I lived in Mississippi as a young adult and understand the "different" attitudes that Southerners have toward the Civil War. (I'm not making any judgments here.) History is rich and complex and should be studied that way. But it was inexcusable to leave out slavery as a major part of the Civil War.

    I think Virginia voters are starting to have buyers' remorse.

    April 7, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Oh, he JUST noticed the slavery thing being left out, just like the RNC JUST noticed it's mishandling donations.

    Isn't that odd that he finally remembered about that whole pesky slave business and the reason that these states secceded was because of the state's right TO SLAVERY?

    Isn't it odd that Lincoln, the founder of the Republican party, mentions in his second innauguration speech that SLAVERY was the cause of the Civil War?

    Don't you just hate the 21st Century and all these peky fact checkers?

    Now if only we can get the Gemans to celebrate their unity from 1939-1945 without having to mention that whole pesky holocaust/genocide thing....

    April 7, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. NoHypeHere

    Funny, how history is constantly revised to suit the needs of Tim Kaine's Democrats. I don't recall CNN doing any reporting when it is coming from the other side!

    April 7, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Terry - Indiana

    This is a typical statement from a white Republican. The people of Virginia elected McDonnell, and McDonnell clearly wants the Confederacy to rise again, perhaps with slavery included. This is a very sad day for America, for Virginia, and for the Black Voters who honored McDonnell with their votes; too bad he believes that slavery was just a part of Southern Hospitality. Perhaps McDonnell should consider resigning, since he only represents white voters in Virginia.

    April 7, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  9. Shadoman

    McDonnell makes the same historical mistake as many before him. Slavery was not the underlying cause of the War. It was the issue of State's rights. Even Lincoln did not begin the war because of slavery, but instead, put the Nation at war to preserve the Union. It was not until after Antietem that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and added slavery as another reason. Yes, slavery was an "abomination" with culpability by Americans from both the North and South. But slavery was NOT what led to this tragic conflict in American history.

    April 7, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Ralph

    "failure to include ANY reference to slavery"
    A "mistake"? Hmmm......

    April 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Most Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    Let me get this straight. The governor says "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation." Yet he is having a month to honor the very people who brought us slavery, and then almost destroyed the country. The fact that enough people voted for this guy shows you that certain areas of our country are as racist as they have always been. What a pity.

    April 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Jeanieinfl

    I'm sure it was an understandable error that this information was left out. I am a U.S, history nut and even I come across information that I have long forgotten, just finding out about (thanks to scrubing some parts of our history from my education) and just for lack of memory. It should be mentioned and I am sure this will be corrected. I whole heartedly think that bringing back our states history for every state is a must.

    April 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. JTinCowtown

    Virtually lifelike. I suppose his head was so far up his astute grasp of all things meaningful to Va conservatives that he simply forgot that nettlesome stuff about slavery and lynchings and segregation. But it's alright 'cause he's a good Christian boy....just like all the klan members in our town in Va were – right up front prayin and singin every Sunday.

    April 7, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Sherri

    Why not call it Civil War History month and discuss all issues surrounding it? There is nothing to celebrate about Confederate History, but certainly lessons to be learned regarding humanity and the evils men are capable of.

    April 7, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Chrissy, TX

    Give me a break. How can this country ever move forward if we keep looking back. Don't get me wrong, this country has come a long way from back then. The democrats should be ashamed of themselves by always injecting the race card all the time. For example, I am an American of Mexican descent and I'm proud of this country. Growing up my father never referred to a person by their race. He taught us to respect your elders, work hard, go to school and and give back to your community and treat others how you would want to be treated. And I'm saddened when I see the democrats always trying to make the cultures that are not "white" feel that they are owed something. I see this especially in the African community...the only ones that I see racist are them because they cannot let go of the past. They are the only ones who are holding themselves back by buying into all this "racist" crap from the democrats. I hope that all the people will open their eyes and move forward. I don't owe anything to anyone and no one owes anything to me. You will only be free when you allow yourself to be free! God Bless America!

    April 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. yeah right

    really, you somehow forgot about slavery!!!!!

    April 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. clf1990

    I think we need to remember all about the history of this country. I seriuosly doubt he forgot he just decided not to mention it until he was brought to task. I cannot believe the people of Virgian voted in this moron. Like must GOPers they forget about things to please the wingnuts in their party and play stupid afterwards..

    April 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. Jon

    An intentional mistake to rile up the base.

    April 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. ran

    The real mistake was the voters of VA voting you in. I can only hope they don't repeat that mistake.

    April 7, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I am almost literally rolling on the floor with unhinged laughter!

    What most quickly comes to mind are the posts in the previous McDonnell story from the eejits and braintrusts that felt empowered by his proclamation to assert that the civil war had NOTHING to do with slavery! I can just hear them saying : "See our gvner says it too".

    They must be heartbroken right now!

    April 7, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. barbara vanovercarr

    You folks need to learn your history the Civil War was caused by economics. The south had an economic stranglehold on the north because they had the free labor of the slaves and the north could not compete. So when you fellas get up there arguing try to get the facts rights!

    April 7, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. lando

    slavery wasnt even a issue when the war broke out .The south had a plan to abolish slavery in 10 years.the main issue of the civil war was taxes the north was making big taxes in industry where the south had no industry per say except field worker who happend to be slaves,which later was renmaed sharecroppin which folks could actully own land after a certian amout of time and money paid to the land owner.

    April 7, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Benjamin

    Slavery didn't lead to the Civil War. . . it just ended at the end of the Civil War. The civil war had many causes, mostly surrounding taxation.

    April 7, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. john in Cal

    I'm glad he gets it now. Too bad it wasn't earlier. Now it makes him look just as bad as before. He stepped into a pile of you know what.

    April 7, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Lisa in Costa Rica

    In other words, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was caught and now he's tap dancing.

    April 7, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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