April 8th, 2010
10:16 AM ET
4 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. sifto77

    The apology is sincere–it should be accepted as such–if it was the other way around–it would be accepted....its time that we started to forgive the ancestors..(not to forget) the only person who suffers is the person who refuses to forgive–not the forgivee..Mr Marsh needs to forgive to feel free of this.

    April 8, 2010 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  2. solidoak

    Some people are really paranoid.

    April 8, 2010 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. Elliott Carlin

    It will be difficult for the small indignant minority such as Race Nazi Marsh to move into the 21st century if he's continues this type of behavior.

    Must be gettin' some bling from Jesse for this one..

    April 8, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Since Marsh wasn't a slave and the governor never owned one, the way over used guilt-trip racial play is uncalled for. Get over it.

    April 8, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Tim from NC

    Let me see..... A Republican says something wrong and apologizes and its not accepted..... Harry Reid can say that Obama doesn't speak with a "Negro Dialect" and no one has a problem with it.... He doesn't have to apologize and everyone is fine with it...... HYPOCRITES.....

    April 8, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  6. DN

    As a resident of Virginia, I have to ask, just what is there to be proud about Confederate history? Seceding from the Union? The slavery aspect of the Confederate States of America was absolutely criminal, but this idea of a Confederate history month is akin to Germany having a Third Reich history month. Is Governor McDonnell trying to appeal to the base that is racist in the GOP?

    April 8, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  7. Monrob

    Republicans apologize with words; they are hypocrites in the heart. What else can be said. . .

    April 8, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. Debbie

    when I saw the headline- "Apology Not Accepted" I immediately knew the guy not accepting the apology is an African American. so-so typical.

    April 8, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Tim

    As Americans, we do not accept the apology, nor will we be quiet about this issue. America does not recognize or commemorate criminals. For that idiot to stand there on CNN last night and claim that the South was invaded by the North and were therefore was just defending itself is asinine. The state with the most slaves in the country was “trying to protect their way of life”, please don’t insult anyone intelligence.

    April 8, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. d

    I am not surprised, He very similar to Senator Allen.

    April 8, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. joe dokes

    Who is this governor trying to kid? McDonnell most deliberately left out mentioning slavery because in the fantasy world of Confederacy fanatics, it played no part in the Civil War. When the South succeeded, it wrote its own fate. I love it–absolutely love it–when white people from the South try to play victim. War's over, guys. Your ancestors lost. Deal with it. BTW, I'm no yankee and I'm not African-American.

    April 8, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. New form of slavery is here!

    How about Marsh and Brazile apologize for Obama's putting Americans into a new mode of slavery - slavery to big government that will take away our rights, livelihood, liberty, and pursuit of excellence. A new enslavement by the Nanny State that makes everyone equal - sure - equal to mediocrity and misery - how wonderful!

    April 8, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. Robert the Man

    I'll tell ya what. I'll give one million dollars in U.S. bonds (same as cash) to any AFRICAN AMERICAN who either was slave in the U.S., knows someone who was a slave in the U.S., parents were slaves, brothers or sisters were slaves. Or just generally can point me in the direction of someone who was a slave. Slavery WAS NOT the main cause of the civil war, if people actually read history we would understand this. There is nothing wrong with southern pride, not everyone in the south is racist. He shouldn't apologize for anything, he did nothing wrong. I swear I here more african americans complain about slavery when events like this happen than I do Native Americans complain about what they went through, and believe me Native Americans had it 10x worse than any African American. Where is your out cry for them?

    April 8, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. jazzer

    This is a sad day in VA.How about the next time black history month is mentioned lets not forget to metion confrederate history month.

    April 8, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  15. The Calabash Kid

    Anyone who took ninth grade history knows that the Civil War was about slavery. Those who argue otherwise are delusional and can be compared to Ahmedinijad's statement that Hitler never killed any Jews. In fact, the brief fifteen year history of the Third Reich and Hitler's persecution of the Jews was like playing patty-cake compared to what happened in the southern colonies and later states between 1700 and 1965 (the Civil Rights Act; may God bless Lyndon Johnson's soul).

    This celebration of slavery and genocide called the Confederacy is an abomination. It makes it clear that a big part of the Conservative Southern Strategy is to arouse racist sentiment against Obama and to encourage racists to become politically active in Conservative causes.

    Those who say otherwise are liars or idiots.

    April 8, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. das0522

    What happened to their forgiving spirit? I guess it all got used by with Harry Reid

    April 8, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Alex

    Let me state from the onset, slavery is wrong in any form...always was and will always be. And yes McDonnell messed up in appeasing all his constituents. But then along comes Senator Marsh and crticizes McDonnel and says he was voted into office as the person who would "bring people together." Gosh Mr. Marsh, seems I've heard that same comment made by another politican who was voted into office on a much higher scale. I think his name is Barack Obama. All he's done is driven a HUGE wedge between us all. Perhaps Marsh needs to clean his own house when critizising others. Sadly (and to my extreme displeasure), the racial divide issue in OUR country is alive and well. When ever will it end?

    April 8, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  18. paul

    Enough is enough. We must move forward. The governor was an idiot in calculating that no one would notice that Slavery was not mentioned and that the public wouldn't notice. But the senator is turning it into a larger political issue for clearly his own gain.

    Forgive but don't forget. Move forward and work to change that sort of mentality that the governor lives under when it comes to history, for slavery history in this country. We will never be able to move forward by forgetting a central part of our history. As well, we will not be able to move forward if politics always take a front seat to genuine forgiveness and learning.

    The Irish were captured and sold into slavery by the English and allowed to suffer and die during famines by the then rulers of Ireland, ENGLAND. Families were separated, died or absolutely disappeared off the face of the earth by these events but the vast majority ... LARGEST majority .., of Irish hold no remorse but have not forgotten their collective history where the British are concerned.

    Take a lesson America. ALL OF US>

    April 8, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Artemisios

    Actually, it's a pattern throughout the Republican/Fox party. Say something outrageous that lets your followers know that you're thinking right. Then "have to" apologize because of the "tyranny" of the liberal press, and be further lauded as a martyr. Just look back at comments and apologies made in the last few years.

    April 8, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  20. Tom

    As usual, another black politician playing the race card to stir up even more controversy.

    April 8, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. Josh

    He is a Racist. Why is anyone surprised at this? He has openly declared that discrimination is no longer illegal in his Virginia. his Attorney General will be adressing a Right Wing Nut group this month.
    Slavery never happened, in his world. He forgot the war was faught to keep African Americans in slavery. he is celebrating those who faught to keep slavery alive. He is a racist as most Repubs and Tea Partiers are. His apology is not sincere, and I know it.
    He's hurt so many of us. These right wingers claim they are God's children, just look at their actions against all od God's Children. They are pro-life, yet are quick to declare their support for the death penalty. They will fight for the unborn but are willing to pull the plug on the living. It's a sad day in this great country.

    April 8, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Forgiveness

    We have all made mistakes ,and we need to learn to forgive that someone when they apologizes. I was not happy with the language our Vice President Joe Biden used the other week.It was a mistake and we forgive him.

    Remember God is love .
    Let's stop pointing fingers and work on this together.

    What a different world this would be if we all tried to lived by God's laws.
    I pray for all people to have peace,and to wipe out this anger we are seeing in today's world.

    April 8, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. Mr Manhattan

    Ive lived in Dixie for quite some time now, and i am amazed that every native of Southern culture still harbors hatred for anyone that comes from up North, particularly the Northeast. In fact in the state that I live in part of the Confederate battle flag made up the states state flag and was replaced a few years ago in hopes that anyone that is still fighting the Civil War in mind & spirit will finally learn to let go of the hatred that stems from losing that war and the many Northerners that live there. You can still see the state flag that was supposed to be replaced still flying in peoples yards and in some govt facilities (ie:fire dept). When Nazi Germany was defeated by the USA during WWII their flag was taken down and eliminated as was their idealisms and atrocities. Slavery WAS part of Southern culture but it isnt anymore. Fighting for it during the Civil War made sense but now the majority of Southerners see it as something horrendous . Whenever we talk about it historically it is important to remember that we had slavery in this country , how far we have come and how far we need to go. War is hell . let it go, let it go.

    April 8, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  24. MoChild

    McDonnell simply put is a racist and should step down immediately.

    April 8, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    As McDonnell takes his state back to the 1850's, he has changed the slogan to 'Virginia is for losers, not lovers.'

    April 8, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
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