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. Rich

    Apologies seem meaningless anymore particularly in the political landscape. When someone does something wrong opponents call for an apology, and when they get one- no matter how sincere- it is not good enough. Why bother apologizing?

    April 8, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. DJK

    Oh get over yourself! Waa Waa Waa, you sound like a baby!

    What do you want the man to do?!? Does he have to grovel publically in front of all the African-American so called 'leaders' like Al and Jesse?!?

    You'd be whining even if he did mention slavery, and you know it!

    April 8, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Philip McCarthy

    It is extremely sad to see the Governor and his staff could not recognize that by declaring "April Confederate History Month", the exclusion and hurt they would bring to African-Americans living in Virginia as well as throughout the United States.

    April 8, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. digger

    Marsh can take a flying leap. Boo Hoo us slaves were not included.

    April 8, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. Andy

    This is getting old. The Civil War had more issues than just slavery. If any American believes that that war was solely about the slave trade then that just shows how undereducated we are as a country about our OWN history.

    Whether you agree with what the Civil War was about or not is a non-issue. It is right to remember and recognize all fallen soliders of our nation's past and present. The same thing applies to the war in Iraq. I am not for that war but I certainly wouldn't take anything away from any of our soliders who have sacrificed for their country. They deserve recognition for their sacrifices. The same can be said for any American war.

    April 8, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Bobby in Atlanta.

    As someone said last night on tv. Where's the inclusion of the Virginia soliders who fought for the Union? But let us be honest here, this proclamation is a blatant effort to rally the Republican partys racists base in Virginia. This was just the governors way of saying that he still stands for the "down trodden" white class of people "who want their country back". Why else would a governor in 2010 issue such a proclamation knowing that such would insult the African American residents of Virginia and the rest of this country. Why is it that the Union States never issue proclamations over actually winning the war and being on the right side of history. Maybe those Union states should.

    April 8, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Phil

    Just another Tea Party Republican who pretends to include black people but hates them in actuality.

    April 8, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Brian in MD

    Who cares. This guy acts like he was a slave. Wasn't that like 150-200 yearsa ago? Old and tired "poor me" argument.

    April 8, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  9. NVa Native

    For those of us in Virginia who are aware (non-Fox Followers) we knew this guy was a fake moderate when he falsely campaigned as such. He and Cuccinnelli are a radical religious wackos who care only about their religion of choice and narrow self-righteous political ideaology.
    McDonnell's thesis from when he was in his 30s is no joke to him. Although he claims he personally has evolved away from the backward social and political views he supported in his thesis, how can that be for someone who openly denies some thing as basic as the proven science of evolution? And now he shows himself as some one who feels as if slavery was not a major (evil) part of the Civil War?? What a clan of troglodites we have running Va Executive branch as Bolling is no better.
    And all this is barely into their first term – God help us.

    April 8, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    The race issue is getting very old.

    April 8, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. CAL

    How in the hell can he say slavery during the civil war slipped his mind? that's what this war was about. this idiot governor is just like all the other republicians, stupid and a racist, after all that what most racist are, ignorant.

    April 8, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Kevin

    Unfortunatly Gov McDonnell represents the views of a lot of people on the right. They have little to no respect for minorities in this country. They can appologize all day but its clear they don't really mean it. I can't beleive these people are being elected into office. SAD.... VERY SAD.

    April 8, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. Ticker Shock

    Governor McDonnell is too educated to have made a "mistake" like that one. What I am more angry about though is that so many lazy Virginians (Including his democratic challenger) sat back, let him get elected.

    April 8, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. Jorgor Barrie

    I think the Gov. Bob McDonnell is just a HYPOCRITE who wants to 'HAVE HIS CAKE AND EAT IT.'

    April 8, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Mike

    Marsh says he expects respect but did not indicate any respect for the Governor nor to his office. Typical..........

    April 8, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. Dennis

    Clearly not a mistake, it was totally intentional. McDonnell would like to make slaves out of the entire middle class to support the lifestyle of the rich and famous investment bankers and the salaries of executives who in turn support him, just like we have done during the past decade. Sorry, know mistake at all, just his true colors showing.

    April 8, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The proclamation was moronic from the get-go. Why amend a moronic statement?

    April 8, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. JEFF

    Get over yourself. He aploigized so thats it. everytime someone makes a mistake people want them to lose there job, and everything.

    When is Congress and the Senate going to apoligize for passing health care without reading the freaking bill

    April 8, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. Drew

    A "mistake"??!! The very existence of the Confederacy was predicated on this FACT of American History. We fought our most bloodiest war over this FACT of American History. It is the reason that our nation was closer than it ever has been to extinction. It is referred to by many as America's "Original Sin."

    Yet he calls leaving out ANY reference to slavery a "mistake" in his proclamation declaring April 'Confederate History Month' in Virginia?? I'm sorry, but as much you Johnny-Reb wannabbees want to glorify the Confederacy in Virginia, there is absolutely no amount of REASONABLE revisionist history that can ignore the fundamental role slavery had in the Confederacy and Virgina.

    Yes, it was a "mistake." But I have trouble believing that this was NOT a mistake of willful omission given the central role of slavery in the South.

    April 8, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. Anonymous

    It bothers me that I should have to apologize TODAY for something that was done YEARS ago. Is there anyone alive today that was a part of slavery then? Many nationalities are and were treated horribly throughout history. As a people we are responsible for OUR actions today...not what our great,great (etc.)grandparents did THEN.

    April 8, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Sharon

    The state of Virginia has regressed to the "Byrd machine" since McDonnell has been governor. Is declaring a Confederate History Month that celebrates the accomplishments of people defending slavery what the right wingers consider "taking their country back"?

    April 8, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. ATL Guy

    Bob McDonnell knew exactly what he was doing when he went about with his proclamation. The rescinding of the anti-gay policy and this ties in exactly with why Tea Partiers and Republicans are fighting against Barack Obama. He's a racist and will try to wiggle his way out of it by saying it was an oversight. But I've worked with Mayor Bloomberg's administration in NYC and proclamations go through an exhaustive review before being entered into the public domain. McDonnell is actively saying to his followers that the religious conservative right is back.

    April 8, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Doug,lib jersey

    Here's an idea, the libs could accept McDonnell's apology and then conservatives would then accept the apology of the lib congressmen who made up the crap about being spit on, called racist and homophobic terms, and sending plants to Palin's speeches to scream things that conservatives don't say but libs pretend they do.

    Calm down libs, I know this would be fair, but please don't bite off my finger as you libs do when you can't win an arguement.

    April 8, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. Anonymous

    150yrs later and we're still talking about slavery? C'mon really? Stop crying and get over it it happened, true it shouldn't have but it did. When will the NAACP stop bringing it up and using it as a means of pitty/

    April 8, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  25. Johnny D.

    WOW, it must be nice to be a democrat and say anything or insult anyone you like and not have the media go crazy hunting you down. But if you are a Republican it's open season! And they say Fox News is biased.....give me a break!

    April 8, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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