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. Jin

    Everyday Americans need to remember that the far right end of "conservative" means people who want to revert to the "good old days" which precedes women's rights and includes slavery!

    April 8, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Chris

    That's one of the issues with getting teary eyed about the way things used to be. You forget about the horrible things.

    April 8, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. paul

    The Civil War was not fought based on slavery alone. The Civil War was fought based on states rights. The majority of the southern states already had movements, with some legislation, in the works to abolish slavery when the war broke out. War broke out due to oppression on southern states by a Washington D.C. that was controlled by folks from Northern states.

    Read your history folks! Not the rewritten history, the factual history.

    April 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. SpringGambit

    Well, Senator Marsh, that old adage of you can bring the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink applies to McDonnell, don't you think?

    Why the south continues to glorify a time 150 years ago when so many felt it was their God given right to treat their brothers and sisters as cattle to be bought and sold truly defies understanding.

    I guess one is either a decent caring individual or one is not. My sympathy to those who are unable to grasp reality enough to understand the difference.

    I imagine those of you who can't are truly very lonely and very unhappy people.

    April 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Democritic

    Now there is a big surprise. A opposing party not accepting an apology.

    April 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Stevo

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

    –It never is, isn't it?

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

    –Yep, and bring Al Sharpton along and make a circus out of the whole thing to get your name in the news. Probably ask for some bill or issue of his to get enacted, too in exchange for "accepting" his apology.

    McDonnell made an error, a minor error in the grand scheme of things, and apologized for it. Marsh is just trying to get his name in the news and stir up (stuff). Stop playing the race card–from a Liberal Democrat.

    April 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. shammus

    a black democrat trying to make a political gain off of something related to race? my goodness, what a new concept!

    April 8, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Billy

    I don't think the issue should be him leaving out slavery in the proclamation, but that he even suggested there be a Confederate history month. What is there to be proud about?

    April 8, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Brett

    Sorry, Mcdonnell isnt Obama in this state. State of VA have rights to HONOR the HISTORY. If we refused to learn or honor the past, then government will NEVER learn anything – more screw up.

    April 8, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. John

    Every once in a while the Republicans slip up like this and accidentally let the cat out of the bag. In the aftermath its always amusing watching GOP leaders trying to deny that right wing political philosophy appeals to hate mongers, revisionists, and bigots.

    April 8, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Mike Southern California

    It's an obvious trend with the GOP. We have all watched the GOP move farther and farther right. Everyone can now see how racist the Republican Party is. As a former GOP Member, I left the party for exactly that reason. The Governor is pandering to the Tea Party, Palin, Bachman,, the rest of the right wing extreme. Shame on all of them!!

    God Bless America

    April 8, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Double Standard

    As we have seen as short as a few months ago with US Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the race card is only used when the politician is a Republican. The double standard makes clear that most complaints of racism leveled against today's leaders are merely political attacks aimed at gaining an advantage in the next election. Black leaders have made the term "racist" a hollow word to the deteriment of the black community.

    April 8, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. aunt Bea and Opie

    Old McDonnell had a plantation,e eye e eye oh.He dreams of days at Tara,drinking mint julips and telling slaves what to do.A typical Mc.

    April 8, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Republicans

    This just continues to show the republicans TRUE colors...they concern themselves with the white rich folk in this country, and use the lesser knowledgeable white folk to do their dirty work for them! These people make me sick! how bout this? rather than "take your country back"...how bout YOU GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!

    April 8, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. NC Bill

    Who gives a crap if this guy accepts the apology. Too many people with not enough to do.

    April 8, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. dave

    Even without slavery - why would we celebrate a bunch of traitorous losers, the Confederacy

    April 8, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Dee

    Who cares, it was an honest mistake.. This lawmaker has his undies in a bunch.. Chill OUT!!!

    April 8, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Joe in Vienna

    I am sick and tired of these race-baiting libberals who see EVERYTHING in terms of race whining about a perfectly innocent attempt to teach children about our history.

    Liberals need to stop bringing up race constantly and get on with their lives, earning a living and raising a family.

    April 8, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Darnell

    Henry Marsh III, you represent a state...not a race. You do not have the right to speak for my wife, my children my parents and myself on this issue just because you are black. Go work for Jesse Jackson if you are going to make "knee jerk reaction" comments without getting a consensus from the black community before opening your mouth! This ommission was un-intentional and not that big a deal. Get over it and grow up!

    April 8, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Bob Bass

    The original proclamation was sufficient. Gov Mcdonnell caved under political pressure and muddied the proclamation’s intent by adding slavery language. If you have any illusions that Lincoln’s war against the Southern states was about slavery, read his open letter to Horace Greely, New York Tribune editor (Google: Lincoln Greely letter). Written in August 1862, halfway through the war, Lincoln’s own words make it absolutely clear that the Civil War was NOT being fought over slavery. Lincoln’s sole stated purpose was to “save” the Union (read: establish federal control over the southern states and keep the enormous and unfair flow of cotton tariff money coming South to North). Lincoln trashed the US Constitution and invaded previously sovereign states. The original proclamation honored the 300,000 Southern men and boys who fought and died defending their homes, and the 50,000 Southern women and children slaughtered by Lincoln’s army.

    April 8, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. danny

    this is such politics...the confederacy is "their" history, and they have a right to take pride in it. Like the history of any society, there are things which are ugly and to leave out. And why don't the people against McDonnell realize that the Civil War was NOT fought over slavery. Lincoln even offered the South the right to continue slavery indefinitely if they would have surrendered to the Union.

    April 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Valerie

    This Governor has repeatedly taken steps that are divisive and show he neither understands nor cares for a sizable percentage of his constituents (or, really, of America at large). If this is how the citizens of the state of Virginia also feel (having voted him in), then I shall have to refrain from ever visiting or spending any money in that beautiful state again; my friends and family all agree with this position. It is a shame, as there is so much to see there... but the current way that citizens are being disrespected by the Governor is intolerable and disgusting.

    April 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Travis In Colorado

    Oh my God it's never enough for black people is it? The governor made a mistake in not mentioning slavery, he apologized. Accept it and just stop crying and get on with your life Sen. Marsh. Stop dragging this through the mud. Maybe Barack Hussein Obama can have another beer summit!

    April 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Felly

    McDonnell is either a racist or a racist by default, period. The hidden side of him is being exposed.

    April 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Bill Beatty

    The governor acknowledged his mistake and apologized for the ommission. If Mr. Marsh is not big enough to accept the apology, shame on him. What does he want, reparations? I have no respect for someone who doesn't accept an apology.

    April 8, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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