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. Ed Tallahassee

    Talking about Confederate History and ignoring slavery would be like talking about WW2 and ignoring the Holocaust.

    It’s unacceptable.

    April 8, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  2. Stevens R. Miller, County Supervisor

    Thank you Sen. Marsh for showing that, and how, this emperor has no clothes. You've uncovered the trick the far right uses over and over: say something outrageous that appeals to their hard-core constituents, then make an "apology" that looks endearingly humble and moderate to the larger community. Or, as you insightfully put it, "he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology."

    We see this from extremist conservatives in the Commonwealth all the time, as they try to make two records for themselves: the one that gets the Tea Baggers, and the one that gets the mainstream. My colleague here in Loudoun County, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, does the same thing all the time.

    But you didn't let Gov. McDonnell get away with it this time. Good for you! Please keep up the fine work.

    Stevens Miller
    Dulles District Member
    Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
    Virginia, USA

    April 8, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  3. no_longer_dem

    lawdy lawdy, another racist in the GOP!

    April 8, 2010 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. Keith in Austin

    Here comes the liberal onslaught!

    April 8, 2010 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. Helen

    This jerk is a Repubican and don't like African Americans anyway. This man thinks that VA belongs to him and he can do as he please. See folks theses are the kind of people you voted for so as the old saying goes; you get what you pay for and this is the result of poor judgement.

    April 8, 2010 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. Nicey

    A lot of whites are STUCK on STUPID!

    April 8, 2010 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  7. payback

    .....Virginia, Won't be getting my "TOURIST DOLLARS" You Betcha!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. Hamid Carsguy

    News Flash: Mayor of Berlin establishes "Nazi History Month", apologizes for omitting mention of the whole "killing Jews thing".

    Anyone forget that the Confederacy was a) a rebellion, b) one that was defeated, c) established for the "states' rights" to have slaves?

    I'm sure the Germans have a way to pay respect to their WW2 dead without paying respect to the abhorrent system many of them were fooled into defending.

    Put simply: abolish he Confederate flag and prosecute Confederate supporters for treason. Over. Done.

    April 8, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yes this type of recent behaviour is a pattern. a pattern shared by other Governors and members of the right wing. A pattern that has been emerging stronger and stronger since the lawful election of President Obama.

    Say what you will CNN, et al, but the last time many of us felt this way things started burning in the capital of this great country of hours.

    April 8, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I meant 'OURS' not 'HOURS'! Talk about a Freudian slip! ooops.

    April 8, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  11. Equality for all

    It Is becoming clearer and clearer that America still has factions of people (who vote) that still can't accept that the Confederate lost the Civil War, and that civil rights and equality for all Americans is what this country is built upon. The fact that some states still elect people into high office who believe we should forget that slavery was a part of our history, who believe that women in the work force are a detriment to families, and that our gay and lesbian citizens should be treated differently (lesser rights and protections) than everyone else, proves we still have a long way to go towards reaching that "more perfect union."

    April 8, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. BobbyB

    It's never enough for these racist morons. They and their ilk say and do whatever they plaeas with no consequence. For how many more decades does slavery have to be apologized for? PEBO doing his best to get reparations through redistribution. Enough already! Grow up!

    April 8, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  13. james

    No one in Virginia cares what that 75-year-old walking fart thinks, so why should anyone else?

    April 8, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. TR

    Too bad he is our governor-he is not only ignorant-add in Ken Cucinelli and they are dangerous, trying to also take away recently pasted healthcare under the guise of "states rights"-a teabagger type ploy. That state rights argument is what cause the civil war to begin with in the first place. Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it-kudos to the lacking intelligence Republican's like McDonnell, et al., who "forget about such things". They foster ignorance too as they open highway rest areas while taking funds from education-hence the slogan, "open a rest area and flush an education". These are exactly the type of people who call for tax cuts to solve deficits. We can celebrate our history in Virginia-for it is the United States history, but we must acknowledge the bad with the good, then we can grow as a people. I think many people who voted for Bob McDonnell and other Republicans should be able to see the dumbing down they are trying to effect in Virginia.

    April 8, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. bad luck

    what do they want? Someone to kiss there feet? Get over it, it happen over 100 years ago. What is the big deal, The governer was talking about the history and pride the south showed. But no some fool has to drag it down by bring in slavery into the mix.
    The part about Marsh drmanding respect well maybe he should show somw respect. Who does he think he is?

    April 8, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  16. sam, LITTLETON.CO

    These wing nut Republican never stop. They lost, get over it! That stupid Gov only brings it up for political purposes. He wants to appease the tea bag wing nuts!

    April 8, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. DLS

    I don't get Donna Brazille's comment. Was she being sarcastic? Perhaps the written entry was faulty in presenting full context of her "apology accepted" comment. As for the Gov., he's an idiot.
    I'm no history buff, but I'm pretty sure Slavery was a very important reason for the Civil War and any man who would take arms against his own country is not a man at all. He's a traitor. Yet again, its a proven fact; If you're not white in America, your black.

    Good luck finding salvation is Jesus Gov. I'm sure he and his darkened skin (after all he was an middle eastern jew) will find you quite the pariah.

    April 8, 2010 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  18. zb

    In making his apology McDonnell said, "We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility." Would that be the same civility and responsibility that Republicans routinely use to call President Obama and supporters of healthcare reform a facist, commi, liar? What should be clear to everyone by now is that the Republican Party – the Palinites, Tea Party and all the rest – are determined to bring us back to the dark ages.

    Lets be clear: the party of Lincoln is now essentially the party of the old south and everything horrible that it embodies: Slavery, Bigotry, the KKK, Betrayal, Treason, injustice, ignorance, and human exploitation of the worst kind. Don't even think for a moment it had anything to do with principle or honor.

    The Governor's decision to commemorate the Confederacy is the moral and intellectual equivalent of Germany if they celebrated Hitler and the Nazis. In other words it is repugnent. Indeed, the republican party has become so far right and so much more interested in power rather then national good, that it acts like, thinks like and increasingly embodies fascism as its central moral and philosophical underpinnings. McDonnell is pandering to the lowest elements in our society which is what the republican party is now all about. Shame Shame Shame. And btw the subject of the confederacy is already fully covered as part of the Civil War which apparently McDonnell is completely ignorant of.

    April 8, 2010 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  19. tom owens

    apologys from republican are useless. they meant every word when said.

    April 8, 2010 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  20. Terian

    "An African-American Virginia lawmaker " <-this is what you call a Black American? He is NOT from Africa, and therefore, is NOT an African-American. He is a black man, same as I am a white man, otherwise, I would insist that you call me a European-American, and to be more precise, I could name the countries my forefathers are from. Get real, get honest, quit catering to the newspeak that goes around. This is RACISM on the part of your news organization. If you keep it up, I will indeed remove your channel from my cable line up, and keep posting on my blogs every time you make a racist statement. Shame on you for coloring the news with your little snide sideways comments.

    April 8, 2010 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  21. jack

    he can apoligize all he wants. a racist is a racist.

    April 8, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  22. Fred Angle

    Geez, how reverse racist (as usual). A black pride gathering is praised, but if you hold one for whites only it is unthinkably insensitive to others. The Confederates were brave citizens defending their homeland from a dominating tyranical central government. Most of the soldiers did not own salves and were not fighting specifically for that cause. I wish it wasn't a social stigma to be proud of a white heritage.

    April 8, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. Testify

    Bob McDonnell is just playing to the far right. If history stands correct I believe that the confederate lost. What is there to celebrate? I think the whole war should be celebrated because it has made America stronger. Unbelieveable. I dont blame the Sen. for being upset.

    April 8, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  24. mike

    McDonnell is a christian person what a joke he wears the white sheet and that what the south did to slavery still plagues us today look at texas and how they want to change the history books to give credit to the confederate generals do you really think that this was a mistake the
    one thing i know for sure is that people like this are cowards because
    they don't have the nerve to tell the public how they really feel and this
    is going to hurt the state in stead of helping it things just don't change

    April 8, 2010 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. Bill

    If you look hard enough, you can always find some way to be offended. Let it go.

    April 8, 2010 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
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