April 7th, 2010
08:14 PM ET
13 years ago

Apology not accepted, lawmaker says of McDonnell

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/07/art.2marsh0407.cnn.jpg caption="'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 • Extra • JKUSA • John King USA • Popular Posts • Virginia
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Tracy-Oakley

    How sad that confederate sympathizers have a need to look at this American history and omit their greatest offense. Their greatest offense being breaking up families & lack of human decency in exchange for their quest of free labor.

    April 7, 2010 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. Sigh

    Welcome to the Republican party.

    April 7, 2010 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Spinoneone

    Of course Mr. Henry Marsh III, a Democrat, was unwilling to accept Governor McDonnell's apology. What, you expect a Democrat to forgive a Republican? However, what did Marsh have to say about Senator Reid's remark on President Obama's "no discernible negro accent" quip? Nothing, of course, since Reid is a Democrat and we all know that no Democrat is a racist. No African-American is, either, but that might be the subject for another day.

    April 7, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. m smith

    Why not the war between the states? Hum! seems like he is playing to a certain audience. This is sad and scary. The south just keeps going backward.

    April 7, 2010 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. Tina

    I'm from West Virginia And all I can say is shame on you Virginia. my favorite president is Lincoln. we all have rights. I believe today what Lincoln believed all those years. I believe the way Dr. King believed. these are two Great Men in the USA and there more.
    as I said I'm from West Virginia. so please pray for our miners. my son is a coal miner.
    Thank you

    April 7, 2010 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  6. Brian

    Confederate history, the confederacy, and the secession had zilch to do with slavery. Fools. Confederate secession from the United States centralized puppet gov't was the declaration to make state governments all powerful. A declaration of each states right to "self-determinate." Do you think a whole lot of rich white aristocrats (the only owner of slaves no matter how you slice it) would have printed their own money off, had standing militias all for the sake of maintaining a few of their slaves? A nice thought, but black slavery is a red herring for the takeover of government control from the states as much as the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP) is a red herring for the corporate takeover of our current government. You want a sincere apology? Here: "I'm sorry you band of fools were elected to serve in government where the clearly inept are safe."

    April 8, 2010 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Come on now. What does this African-American Virginia lawmaker expect from a governor representing the party of the wealthy and from of a southern state that only sees history the way they want to tell it.

    April 8, 2010 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Jay

    Too little too late, Gov. I mean, really, how can you possibly make any reference to the Confederacy or confederate history and not mention anything to do with the terrible crime of slavery that played such a central role in the Civil War? By making the statements you made yesterday you can only be playing to your white, racist base or you are simply stupid.

    April 8, 2010 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  9. Don kawash

    Let's not forget that the governor seemed to go out of his way to amend antidiscrimination laws in Virginia to exclude gays, making it legal for gays to be fired for no other reason than their sexual orientation. his tone might appear moderate, but he is behaving like a bigot.

    April 8, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  10. Robert Warner

    So the gov thinks slavery was terrible? Then why is he so dead set on honoring those who fought for slavery and tried to tear apart our country in order to preserve it? He's just another southerner still sad that the North won the war.

    April 8, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  11. Dan

    I love how when a guy tries to avoid discussing slavery and target the positives instead he gets hammered. Governor clearly was trying to avoid bringing up slavery and instead discussing the less controversial topics of Dixie month. He apologizes and take it at that. Lets drop the politics and give the guy a break. I am sure he doesn't feel slavery was acceptable. I don't know any rational thinking person, liberal or conservative that believes slavery is or was at any time in history remotely good. With that said anyone who has studied the Civil War understands the North make critical errors when it came to dealing with the South and the South had a lot of reason to leave the Union. Slavery was just the hot button topic.

    April 8, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Donald

    I am not from Virginia, African American, nor vote Republican but It seems to me that the Governor's apology and statement said what needed to be said clearly and with conviction. Any more discussion about any omissions will not assist in the long healing process to put slavery behind us. I often wonder if the topic is intentionally surfaced for political reason. I'm from Chicago, I know about these things.


    April 8, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. Sick of it

    Give up the whole slavery schtick. It was 150 years ago. Any slave owners are now dead. Let it rest and it will not plague our nation anymore.

    April 8, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  14. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Maybe he should apologize to gay people now....and women...

    April 8, 2010 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  15. Courtney Anne

    This and other issues is becoming a sad trend for the Republican party. Do they really want to be known as "bigots."

    April 8, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  16. Pete

    Mr. Marsh should not hold his breath....

    Do you think the Governor and his team left it out by accident?

    No one wants to open another pandora's box on this topic.

    Let it go...

    April 8, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. marcus (seattle)

    it's not actually about accepting, or not accepting his apology.. what people need to realize, is the republican party is about the haves and have-nots.. it is a party that waxes nostalgic for a day when wealthy white people could do whatever they wanted to.. the republican party likes only 2 colors, white people and green money..

    April 8, 2010 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  18. Red by Choice

    Some people are just standing around looking for a reason to be offended. And sooner or later they will find one.

    The only thing I find surprising about this story is that a Democratic law maker is accusing a Republican of being non inclusive. HELLO, what just happened with health care and the recess appointment of Becker to the labor board? Talk about being non inclusive. Obama is the king of non inclusive.

    And last time I checked none of the white folks alive today are/were slave owners. Why should we be expected to continue to apologize for something done by whites 150 years ago? I wasn’t there, I wasn’t a slave owner and it’s not my fault it happened. Get over your culture of being victims.

    So we can have Black history month. Can we have a Confederate history month without the black population pitching hissy fits? We seem to forget that slavery was only one of many issues of the Confederacy and its rebellion.

    April 8, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  19. joymc

    It certainly didn't take long for Gov. McDonnell to have his
    "Macaca" moment...for which we, the opposition, are most
    grateful. Had no idea we would have so much material already
    piling up as we await his next foray into elec ted office.

    April 8, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  20. Michael

    It is humorous that the conservative politicians who pander to the extremist right-wing lunatic fringe are finally, albeit too late, getting a horrible feeling that they have gone too far.
    Remember the look on Wile E. Coyote's face when he runs off the edge and realizes he is standing on thin air?
    Meet the new face of the Republican Party.

    April 8, 2010 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  21. Brian

    I am so sick of people being unwilling to accept an apology. Whatever happened to the "he who is without sin... let him cast the first stone" saying?

    April 8, 2010 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  22. anthony

    thats some crap. what is there to be proud the confederate to giv e thim a month of glory. they where traders and they believed is slavery. and thats what they where fighting for, the right to have slaves. how are you going to have a full month of gorifying that.

    April 8, 2010 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Forget the dam race card he wanted to just make a state ment about the flag stop makeing this a race issue

    April 8, 2010 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
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