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. Bulloch

    The US will NEVER advance past the point it is when it comes to the subject of slavery. Despite the fact that not a single person alive in the country ever personally owned a slave, there are those who automatically turn everything into a race-issue. Plenty of other countries had the same problems the US had, but we are the only ones who jump at the chance to turn the subject into our turn in the spotlight.
    As long as we automatically assume every actioin is racially motivated, we will remain a racist country.

    April 8, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Jon Johnson

    In order to receive respect you must give respect as well!

    April 8, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Ron in California

    I understand that history is history but come on...he apologized. Politics as usual

    April 8, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. worriedmom

    Time Sen Marsh to accept the apology. Virginia has lots of history and it is important to learn all aspects of history. You had no issues with Black History Month why this???
    Personally I am very tired of the Democrats and Lamestream media trying to make every issue a "race" issue. Get over it. This is history, it happened and you need to learn from history not to repeat it.
    Sen Marsh you represent Virginia, not just your "race". Check out Virginia and the diverse races that live in Virginia. Virginia celebrates many nationalities and their history. Step up and be proud of Virginia, Senator Marsh.
    We elected this Governor , show him the respect that you feel we owe you.

    April 8, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Chris D.

    I'll forgive, but i won't forget.....

    April 8, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Expat American

    How can McDonnell omit any mention of slavery while speaking of the Confederacy? And what is there to ‘celebrate?’ Is it to reflect on one state's historical attempt to preserve their ‘Right’ to commit Torture, Rape, Murder and Genocide; atrocities that were deemed necessary at the time by southern slave owners for the purpose of continuing the practice of slavery? To veil the dark history of slavery under the guise of the economic struggle for state rights is offensive. Was that what McDonnell was trying to do by ‘forgetting’ to mention slavery?

    April 8, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. gary

    Obviously the governor is pandering to the tea party folks who are still fighting the civil war. It's time to get over it. The South lost, it's against the law to have slaves, and the president is black.

    April 8, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Kelby

    wOw, Ya know, I really can't talk about another state's governor, I'm from Texas and my governor is Rick Perry (stop laughing!)
    But, even my governor hasn't done anything this racially controversial.
    And he hasn't had any moments where he revises history...

    Yes Virginia, He is your governor

    April 8, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. TCM

    hmm...a black lawyer, who, was thrust forward by affirmative action, and whose college and law school was paid for with grants from a government where the top wage-earning taxpayers are predominantly white....and had nothing to do with slavery, wants an apology from a guy who happens to be white....seems like the lawyer should apologize to the nation for being a racist bigot, and should thank the nation for overturning slavery and allowing him to have equal rights...you can never satisfy blacks; for the most part. They don't want equality, they want preferential treatment.

    April 8, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. Bob

    No one living today was ever a slave, including Henry Marsh. No one living today ever owned a slave.

    Get over it already. The country has much bigger problems than worrying about hurt feelings.

    April 8, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Fletch

    Hey, at least McDonnell apologized! We're all still waiting on Al Sharpton's apology for wrongfully accusing the Duke lacrosse team! Ahhh, the double-edged sword of political correctness...

    April 8, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. not alone

    A mistake, ya right. I'm originally from Southern California and even know slavery and the confederate war go hand in hand and not to add a fact is sorta like Dick Chaney thinking he can change the history of this natioin for the right wing base of this country and make em feel a lil less evil.

    April 8, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Mr Phil

    This from the same guy who says handicapped babies are god's punishment for abortions. Are we really all that surprised? Slavery is acceptable in the bible too.

    April 8, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. esmeralda

    I don't believe the Gov. of Va should apologize for anything. The Confederacy is a part of our country's history whether it was good for some and bad for others. Everything about the joining of the United States is sort of bad for everyone in our past. It was bad for blacks, it was bad for Indians, and it was bad for Mexicans, but it is a great place for diversity today. I want my children to know what happened in history..all of it and if that means knowing that black were bought and sold in those times the same way that children and exotic animals bought and sold today then I want them to know the struggle that leads to freedom. You simply cannot say, 'this offends me" and shut it from the eyes and ears of others. Embrace it. While they are at it, take time to visit Africa where these things still exist in the absence of the white man.

    April 8, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Dave

    Nobody alive today is or was a slave. Im a democrat, but I believe that when the apology was made, there should be nobody "worthy" to step up and "accept" this apology.

    April 8, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Sniffit

    What exactly did people expect? We saw what McDonnel said in his fake thesis at that fake university for his fake degree. Did we really think that an unabashed sexist who wants our societal structure to return to the 1800's would somehow magically manage to be sensitive to race issues? He could've saved himself if he hadn't responded to the initial criticism by making it seem like he felt the slavery issue was not "significant," but instead he put his dogma-crap covered foot in his mouth, which was honestly a contortionist feat worthy of Circ de Soleil considering the fact his head was already firmly up his clenched-up regressive conservative backside.

    Good on ya VA. Next time vote with your brains instead of your emotions.

    April 8, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. sandy

    How dare he omit slavery as part of Virginia history and then think an apology is all he has to give. These good ole boys in the south better remember that the war is over and get with the rest of the country. The things I am hearing on TV from some of these people is disgusting and is frightening. I was raised in the south and some things these southern politicians are saying does not make me proud. We ALL need to stand behind our president and respect the presidency no matter who occupies the seat. From what I can see the republicans are stirring up the "loonies" in this country just to win elections. what ever happened to patriotism? I honestly don't see it coming from their side. Their game is to bring down Obama. Why?? Pretty simple, because he is a black man and they can't deal with it. By the way, I am 66 years old and I am a white woman. No racism here boys!!!

    April 8, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Marc in Virginia

    Apology NOT accepted. Why did this idiot proclaim Confederate History Month in the first place? To appease a bunch of rednecks? Now the phony apology. What a joke.

    April 8, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. jean2009

    Did Governor McDonnell flunk history? Can anyone with a straight face say he did? To begin with, why would any Virginian celebrate a 150 year old war that ended with the defeat of the Common Wealth of Virginia? It is totally laughable that anyone could proclaim anything about the Civil War and the Confederacy and overlook the key reason for succession which was slavery. People may want to rewrite history and blame it on other factors "of which there were many" but to incite enough uneducated crackers to arms it takes more than complex reasons. Slavery was the catalyst.

    April 8, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Joseph

    While Governor McDonnell may have been offensive and slavery was and is a terrible, inhumane issue, I believe a better study of American History would show that States rights versus the Federal government was the original issue causing the Civil War in the now United States,in the early 1860's. By the way, as has been pointed out by many prominent African- Americans recently, many African-Americans, and former slaves, had slaves themselves.

    April 8, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. NC Moderate

    What good is an apology now? McDonnell has already sent his coded message to conservatives, and they can be assured that he "thinks like they do."

    April 8, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Mike from NJ

    Marsh sounds like the typical headline grabbing obstructionist who cannot let racism go. Get over sir, the slave days are gone for over 125-years now and no one living on this planet had anything to do with that.

    And Marsh wants sincerity and tollerance? The man can't even accept the Governor's appology. Another one of the very low percentages of african-americans who cannot lead by setting a proper example for reasonable behavior.

    April 8, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. mk

    I believe he owes the entire Country an apology. What an arrogant fool he is! Did he think we all had forgotten slavery?

    April 8, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. AmericanD

    Blah blah blah. It's your racist opinion because he's white. It doesn't change the fact that slavery was NOT a cause of the Civil War. You must've failed History in High School.

    April 8, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. cjr

    this guy's career is over! no great loss

    April 8, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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