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. vs

    The apology is meaningless. It wasn't that he omitted to mention slavery in an off the cuff discussion during a telephone interview. This was a well thought out state sponsored announcement on delaring the observance of confederate history month. The omission of slavery was deliberate, and meant to feed the covert "anti government, rascist, seccessionist" sentiment that has been cultivated among the base for decades, and which has recently found a new voice in the republican/tea party which has shed the pretense of being a party for all americans. The apology was already crafted, to be delivered after the expected outrage on the omission. This "apology" will be used as well to further stoke hatred among the base which will be told that the "oppressive" left wing,socialist, democrats and media are once again forcing poor whites to toe the line of inclusion and being denied their God given right of bigotry.

    April 8, 2010 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  2. vs

    The apology is meaningless. It wasn't that he omitted to mention slavery in an off. the cuff discussion during a telephone interview. This was a well thought out state sponsored announcement on delaring the observance of confederate history month. The omission of slavery was deliberate, and meant to feed the covert "anti government, rascist, seccessionist" sentiment that has been cultivated among the base for decades, and which has recently found a new voice in the republican/tea party which has shed the pretense of being a party for all americans. The apology was already crafted, to be delivered after the expected outrage on the omission. This "apology" will be used as well to further stoke hatred among the base which will be told that the "oppressive" left wing,socialist, democrats and media are once again forcing poor whites to toe the line of inclusion and being denied their God given right of bigotry.

    April 8, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  3. Upset in VA

    I live in Virginia and was very offended by this. This is an example of how the Governor has used his Republican platform to say forget about how the black community feels. I always knew that racism still exists in Virginia, but this is the icing on the cake. He should be asked to step down as Governor because so far he has not done anything that is productive and good for all Virginians. He and his cabinet are full of rhetoric and division within our country.

    April 8, 2010 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  4. Mike

    Funny thing here....you have a national security strategy that "Omits" radical Islamic Terrorists" and you don't have a problem with that, but an omission to why the Civil War was fought was a foul? Seriously? This guy is milking this subject and needs to get over himself...the war is over...get over it.

    April 8, 2010 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  5. GOPBslapper

    It's obvious by its omission it was not a mistake but intentional. Just another closeted racist Republican exposed to the light of day. And as is common with his breed, the little Roach scattered under scrutiny.

    April 8, 2010 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  6. J Russ

    I'm glad that he mentioned it because I'd forgotten that there was slavery here............it's good to keep hammering on this so that we'll continue to be so racially divided..............can't put the hate to rest 'cause then we'd have to address real issues not just stupid excuses and side shows.

    April 8, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  7. patricia c

    Totally agree. Gov Mc Donnell was speaking to his base of the Sons Of the South .He has already made it very clear in his Proclamation that Slavery wasn't the cause of the Civil war .We have a very huge Racial problem in this country and teh Republican Party and the Tea Party are at the root of it. Its up to the Media like CNN to get to the bottom of of this Racial Hate so that we can clean it up for good.

    Before Pres Obama took office it had already raised its ugky head and the news media just giggle and looked the other way. When Home Land Security came out with their report ,that the former Adminstration has asked to be done on Right wing Home Grown Terror networks the main stream media ,CNN, bought into the Republican Party of No ,this is free speech leave these people alone. This could have been investigated a year ago by CNN and exposed to sunlight and we as Americans ,maybe would be less angry if people knew who was behind the TEA Party and the Race hating movement.Are we going to stand by and watch the leaders of this country get terrorized? The groups of white only are dangerous to each one of us and to our Country. The Old Civil Rights Leaders knows what is going on and CNN and other News outlets must expose the new form of the KKK.

    April 8, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  8. cb

    is it surprising that in a time like this we would be surprise of yet another republican peddling back after getting caught with racist remarks – then calling it – a "mistake" – Republicans do not like to admit that racism is still rampant within its ranks. Continuing to deny the obvious and taking care of them will only continue to hurt the grand old party. Americans should not stand for racism any longer. I urge republicans to truly do something about this or all of you will be thrown in the same category if you continue to ignore this.

    April 8, 2010 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  9. Mattski

    Jeez, Marsh what do you want him to do? Take a pill. It's over. You can't milk this one any more.

    April 8, 2010 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  10. JustandAmerican

    Get over it, slavery happened but it is over. Stupid people like Mr.Henry Marsh III keeping making an issue over this no one will every get this past them and move on. What will every make this man happy, blame your own race for selling your family into slavery not the white man for the purchase. No one made your own race do this but the same think that made the settlers not want to pick there own cotton GREED. Please lets but the race and slavery behiind us. We are Americans and Americans only if you don't like the Past then leave the US becasue the PAST will always be just that the PAST. We most learn from are past and stop blaming everone else for are issues today. You Mr. Hennry Marsh you are the worst for this, slavery happened over 100 Years ago I think it is time to move on, it does not affect anyone any more. Please America move on the PAST is the PAST and can not be changed.

    April 8, 2010 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. Tommy P

    What do you expect. He is a Republican therefore he is a racist. They all are and Steele is just their token.

    April 8, 2010 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  12. Tricia

    What really bothers me is that a minority of people are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Just because the Civial War was started over slavery does not mean every discussion has to include it. There are a lot of other facets to it and not every discussion should have to bring in a discussion about Slavery.

    And it infurates me that the minority I meantioned earlier thinks and the mainstream media to push their agenda....just to have a story.

    April 8, 2010 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  13. Angus McDugan

    Wow!!!!!!

    Has everyone noticed that the Pelosi and Holder articles were posted late yesterday. CNN knows they both are bad advertising for the democratic party so let's not discuss them during the day.

    April 8, 2010 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  14. Angus McDugan

    Concerning this article, what IS the price of milk these days?

    April 8, 2010 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  15. NoHypeHere

    Uh, Henry Marsh, does Black History Month acknowledge the Confederacy? How about the Union? How about the 600,000 men who died to settle the question of slavery? How can you have Black History Month and not have reference to such a large part of history!

    I wish the Black History Month would quit making that mistake and take corrective action immediately!

    I think an apology is owed from the leaders of the black community that tout Black History Month to those whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy and Union and to give mention that without the Confederacy and the Union, the path of Black History month might look quite different!

    April 8, 2010 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  16. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Blacks have been whining for decades about how badly they were victimised by slavery–which is really odd since that last black who was ever actually a slave died decades ago.

    Get over it, and quit making excuses for yourselves.

    April 8, 2010 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  17. A Guy

    The guy apologized, cut him a little slack. Even if you suspect his apology is not sincere, refusing to accept it is just stooping to a lower level. Why do that?

    April 8, 2010 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. John - Colorado

    I would not accept the apology either until I understood why both the governor and his staff missed this gross oversight. This "mistake" by McDonnell is a perfect microcosm of why the Republican Party is not attracting a diverse set of party members. Even if this was a gross oversight of the governor, that is why you have a good diverse staff to watch out for such errors. Besides McDonnell's obvious blind spot he also either did not review this with his staff, did not have a diverse staff, or has an incompetent staff. I would want to know which one or ones of the above caused the problem and what he is going to do to fix the root cause for this gross mistake. Apology is appropriate and understanding the cause and putting in a fix for the reason is even more appropriate.

    April 8, 2010 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  19. Mark

    Grandstanding by the black guy in his attempt to get publicity. The governor apologized....end of storry!!!

    April 8, 2010 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  20. stephen Pagnozzi

    Just another Misstep by the Republicans! If I could be so bold to say, if I would put myself in the place of an African-American, I surely wouldn't accept an apology especially the way he worded his original statement. My gosh, ANY student of the American Civil War( I mean grade 3 as well!) knows Slavery was a prime motivator of the War. This is just one of so many shames on the Republican Party. They once had a Party that contained some men of earnest, men who actually believed in their credo's(although I disagree with most of their philosophy)and now they have debased themselves by the negativity of everything that comes out of their corner. They are doing well driving this country into a cesspool.

    April 8, 2010 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. Patriot

    You Go Bob! You DID open up the rest stops on I-81.

    What's next, Secession?

    April 8, 2010 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  22. Gil

    Just another party of No foot in the mouth problem. Can you imagine what would happen if more of them were put in office? Just say No to the Party of NO.

    April 8, 2010 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  23. payback

    ...Those southerners, cannot get over the fact, that they lost the war. The Civil War. That is. I can't see fighting to keep slavery alive as being a moral issue. And that's why the lost.....They continue re-live the past in move-on.....YOU PEOPLE LOST. END OF STORY. WE HAVE A PRESIDENT OF COLOR.....ACCEPT IT. END OF STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2010 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  24. T Schwarz

    This was truly a political gaffe. No politician, however, would intentionally seek the sort of backlash that Governor McDonnell has brought upon himself. So for Sen. Marsh to suggest that this was somehow "sending a signal to his base" makes no sense. Governor McDonnell has acknowledged his mistake. He rewrote his proclamation in a manner that recognizes the blight that slavery imprinted on our history. Does CNN up its ratings by playing this "story" again and again in a manner that seems appears to be an attack on Governor McDonnell rather than an honest news report on his unfortunate omission? Let's move on, for crying out loud!

    April 8, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  25. Greg Sikorski

    Where politics and baloney are concerned, it doesn't matter how you package it. The genuine article inside the packaging is still baloney. When people truly speak what they feel, they should never have to apologize. The speak should simply acknowledge that "that's who I am."

    April 8, 2010 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
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