April 8th, 2010
10:16 AM 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 • JKUSA • John King USA • Virginia
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Chyrel

    This makes me sad. I'm so very sad that there is no tolerance or sensitivity to all people that have made America a great country and nation. It's appalling to me at this time and place in our history as a nation that an incident of this magnitude would still be taking place. Unfortunately I think we can all agree all these years after Martin Luther King that black people/African-Americans are still not judged by the content of their character. It makes one question tremendously the character of Bob McDonnell. How sad.

    April 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Steve

    "...I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed,” Shouldn't ALL fellow Virginians have been offended or disappointed? He's apologizing for our lack of understanding – apology rejected!

    April 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. Steve51

    At least the inherent racism of the right is now fully out in the open where it can see the light of reason and maybe start to disappear.

    April 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. ronalde

    I don't believe thatMcdonnell was sincere in his apology because it wasn't a mistake he did it on purpus and why do these southern govenors contuine to celebrate what they are doing is fanning the flames of racism.The confederates lost the war they started why celebrate a loser it should be called a history of tha civil war month this would make more sense,but that doesn't stir up his base,people of virgina wake up,and since the union won the war why don't they celebrate they WON.

    April 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Toni

    Get over it.

    April 8, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Ryan

    What glory needs to be celebrated when y'all lost the war anyway? I lived in Richmond VA for 5 years, and they actually get offended that nobody knows or even cares about most of the monuments on Monument Ave.

    Get over it people.

    April 8, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. susanj

    Now I can include Virginia as another state I will not be visiting any time soon. South Carolina was my first state. This guy has got to go. People of Virigina – why did you vote this racist in? I thought you were more advanced in your thinking. Apparently I was wrong.

    April 8, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Andi

    Gee, celebrate folk who defended slavery? Not. That in and of itself is an insult. Why is the extreme right insistent on going backwards instead of forward? Yet African Americans always told to forgive and forget. I really believe that there are factions in the GOP who really want to start a race war all because we have a black President? Because that's what this is really all about. Older males of a certain persuasion feeling emasculated or unempowered? Yet we tout Democracy around the world and can't come to grips with President Barack Obama? Cave men mentality. Next they will be dragging their women off the job and back to the bedroom. Wonder how Michael Steele feels about all of this?

    April 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. K(DC)

    If any one is suprise at Gov. McDonnell actions just like his AG are living in a fantasy world, his track record in the right wing zealot direction was living proof of his leaning, he just put on a temporay mask when he was running for election. Had he not receive the negative comments from some of his wealthy black part democratic part republican supporters, his true colors would have remained on display. I agree with the law maker, Apology not accepted, the Governor is an intellegent man, he knew exactly what he was doing!!

    April 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Walter

    As someone with a direct ancestor who fought in the 4th Virginia Infantry, I will never understand the desire of white southerners to continue offending their African-American neighbors with celebrations of the Civil War.

    It was, as someone wiser than me once said, the worst cause for which good men ever fought. To put it more bluntly, it was an act of treason designed to perpetuate the slavery of an entire people.

    April 8, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Richard

    Does anyone who isn't brain dead need more proof that republicans are racist? If you're not a racist, exactly WHY are you a republican?

    April 8, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Paul Ernest Show

    Its unfortunate that a man, in the position of a governor, could use these kinds of political tactics to gain popularity. By even issuing the proclamation, he is stirring up both racial sentiments and reopening old, healed, wounds. These kinds of behavior only further divide people, and one wonders how such people make it to the top harboring and perpetrating such narrow, racist agenda. It seems when such people lack issues of general concern to the people they govern, they resort to wipe up these divisive sentiments.

    April 8, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. joe

    Anytime that some one does not except some one elses apology, that person has no respect for himself or others. That tells me either that person feels they are better then everyone else or has never made a mistake in his or her life. You decide!

    April 8, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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