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. Henery Marsh, a Professor Gates lookalike

    Henry Marsh III He apologized – you do not want to accep it – fine, go home and sulk; we do not care.

    Marsh sounds a lot like Professor Gates of Harvard, ther Cambridge black racist and white hater. It sounds like ole Henry is trying to get an invite for a beer at the white house with Obama

    April 8, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  2. Eric Prince II

    Get over it!

    April 8, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  3. Sabrina

    This is not the man I want to represent me and he does not, the fact that he decided to allow for this holiday to be proclaimed makes it very clear that he doesn't represent me. On top of that I realy recomend that he takes a history lesson on the Civil War and if he did he would know for sure why the war started. It was not because of slavery, the pull to win the war was slavery and the anti-slavery movements that happened in the last years of the war. Mcdummy should know that with his great education, but i seriously doubt that. I also doubt his sincerity as well. I don't give a rats butt if he apologies and then adds slavery as a side note, nope I am not buying it what so ever.

    April 8, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. Blue State Virginian

    As a proud Virginia Democrat, I am offended by our new Governor's thoughtlessness. I will work hard to ensure we don't have future govs like him. Fortunately in this case, Virginia only allows governors to serve one term.

    April 8, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. David Guye

    I am so sick of the controversy of our history and the civil war. Yes slavery was part of the cause of the American Civil War, but not the main reason. The main reason for the War Between the States was, States Rights. The Federal government was imposing new laws and controls on the states that went beyond what the Constitution allowed. President Lincoln used slavery as an issue to make the war more popular with the Northern people to more easily raise his army. Before that the war was very unpopular in the North. Also it was the Northern army( Federal) that invaded the South. Slavery was only part of the reason for this war, and the other resons for the war should be mentioned. If you really want to get into slavery look at the Federal Government from the 1700's. It was the Northern states that first brought in the slaves and used them. And if you look at history, Virginia and other states first opposed slavery in the 1700's. The Northern states as they became more industrialized did'nt need the slaves anymore. But the South with the cotton farms and lack of industry could use them and did. As for the slaves, many of them even fought for the Confederacy, by their own will. You don't hear about that much in history do you. And even after the war many returned to their plantations. As for the Confederate flag I am sick of the mistake so many people make about it. The popular Stars and Bars Flag that many people display is not and never was the Confederate Flag. IT WAS A BATTLE FLAG. The true Confederate flag looks very different and went through several versions during the war. And the flag does not represent slavery in any way. If you really want to look at a flag that was flying during the slavery period in this country look at the early versions of the American Flag. Slavery was in pratice and popular in this country for a much longer period under the American flag than it ever was under the years of the Confederacy. The Stars and Bars as the Gadsden flag, Bonnie Blue and so many others are taking a bad rap from people that don't know our history. Slavery was and is wrong, yes, but it wasn't the primary or only reason for the Civil War. But intellegent people can research it for themselves and see that there were many more issues to the War Between the States than slavery.

    April 8, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. ConsiderThis-FL

    There's intent and there's a mistake. Intent is INTENTIONAL, i.e., ON PURPOSE. A mistake is UNINTENTIONAL. To speak of the history of the Confederacy and omit "slavery" is clearly INTENTIONAL. Therefore, it could NOT HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE. Governor McDonnell should man-up to what he said and did. Instead, he's a coward with his tail between his legs now that people have taken issue to what he INTENTIONALLY said and did. Another spinless Republican who can't resist promoting division and dischord among people, but want to yell "mistake" when challenged about doing so. Creep.

    April 8, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. wdcreason

    Marsh needs to stop posturing and pandering by continuing to bemoan the past in order for political gain, and start doing his job by focusing on the present and future...and quit saying one thing and doing another by condoning and participating in his parties use of tactics like 'reconciliation' to impose their socialistic agenda against the will of the majority of American's, in spite of the liberal media's Democratic bias and control.

    April 8, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  8. TK

    The odd part is that Harry Reid can directly say something racist and is forgiven immediately by these democrats. This is labeled a racist for something he did not say and there is no forgiveness in sight. Racism is a real problem, but when it is used for politics, the problem becomes watered down.

    April 8, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. Alina

    I don't understand, isn't republicans are all about small government? McDonnell only 60 days as a governor and all he duos is more Government. Republicans likes to rewrite history, they will lie, they will forget, they will show disrespect and then claiming that they forgot to show respect. What in the heck is wrong with you people? I am telling you I am afraid of next republican President in this country, who knows what that guy will rewrite? I was watching Sara Palin and Bachmann screaming " Give us our country back, our liberty, send us to Washington so we will turn everything back." Beck to what? . Go ask if any of them have solutions about jobs or ask them any question and you will see that they have no clue how to bring good to people. Its too bed that we stuck with those two pro life women, that coaling for guns and danger and revolution.

    April 8, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. Wilson

    Confederate History Month is just stupid. We need a White History Month that would allow whites to celebrate our contributions to this nation and our beautiful Euopean Heritage. Why can blacks say "black is beautiful" and have 'black pride" but whites may not? White is beautiful! And I am proud to be a white American!

    April 8, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  11. Debby

    He really didn't have to apologize in the first place. Confederacy month is honoring soldiers that fought in the civil war, which included black men. Marsh better go back and read a history book as all he did was make a fool out of himself with his stupid remarks.

    April 8, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Todd

    Let these people celebrate their Confederate heritage the way we let every other group in America celebrate theirs. We have black history month, which has nothing to do with a lot of us, but we support it anyway.

    April 8, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. Gary Brady

    What a bunch of cry babies. They have been paid billions of dollars in assistance and special programs. That debt has been paid to all that it was owed and many who were not. Get over it and quit wallowing in self pity. Join the rest of us and just be an AMERICAN.

    April 8, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. Frances

    How could anyone forget that. First thing that pops into my head when someone says Confederate is slavery. That is why we fought the Confederates. I think the governor is full of bull. Equal rights does not seem to be his forte. First he rolls back nondiscrimination rights for gay state workers. Now this. It is good for people to call him out.

    April 8, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. Maria

    Marsh really needs to get over himself. If he "expects" respect then maybe he should conduct himself in a more "respectful" manner.

    April 8, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Donatella

    Why does this man want to celebrate a time in our history that is nothing to be proud of, why are thess republicans going back in time instead of moving forward, those day are never coming back. We as a nation should try to learn form our mistakes not make holidays out of them. This governor is a idiot.

    April 8, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Black in American

    Yell you just conveniently left out the slavery part. The white man brought blacks over to the country and we help built this country on the backs of hard working slaves, while the white man just stood around with a whip. You allow ever nationality to enter this country with respect, but we blacks still have to fight for respect. You need to start getting use too the fact that the white man is the minority in this country now. And if you want your country back go back to where you came from and give the country back to the Indians. I commend those who have gotten over their prejudice.

    April 8, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. ruty

    Come on people. Get over it. The people living now did not create slavery. A LOT of whites were in slavery to rich, old white men. I had relatives that were slaves to plantation owners and they were white. I don't hear their offsprings complaining. They are just glad it is over.

    April 8, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. Black in American

    Yell you just conveniently left out the slavery part. The white man brought blacks over to the country and we help built this country on the backs of hard working slaves, while the white man just stood around with a whip. You allow every nationality to enter this country with respect, but we blacks still have to fight for respect. You need to start getting use too the fact that the white man is the minority in this country now. And if you want your country back go back to where you came from and give the country back to the Indians. I commend those who have gotten over their prejudice.

    April 8, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  20. get real

    Oops, you forgot to mention slavery when declaring April Confederacy Appreciation Month??? Aw, shucks, no biggie. Could happen to anyone. WHATEVER!

    April 8, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. AEK

    Typical Republican behavior. Say something outrageous, sample the reaction from the base, give an insincere apology, repeat.

    April 8, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  22. brian

    Good. Mcdonnell is wrong on all fronts. And from here on out.....concensus-minded people will remember mcdonnell as maybe a potential racist. He's ressurrecting some very old violent and bloody demons that should be left buried for all time.

    April 8, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. Jeff

    Same song, same.....actually same verse too. On both sides.

    April 8, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Looking at what this guy has done in 3 months then worse is yet to come. Virginians you get what you voted for. You were warned but refused. Your state will soon be worse than George Bush mess. Enjoy.

    April 8, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. munchmom

    Marsh said he would be glad to meet with the Governor. What, another "beer summit" but on the state level? Give me a break, while slavery was a human tragedy, it is still part of history, AMERICAN HISTORY OR CONFEDERATE HISTORY, however you want to break it down. We cannot pay penance for what our forefathers did anymore than the Germans can pay penance for what the Nazis did. I am so tired of hearing this rhetoric....get over yourselves!

    April 8, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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