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. Common Sense

    All CNN does is stir up racial hatred these days. I watched this channel my whole life until I heard Donna Brazille and Roland Martin get on TV and say there will be riots in Denver if Hillary Clinton gets the Democratic nomination. I'm sure there would have been riots if CNN had anything to do with.

    Isn't it ironic that that this channel is so into racial equality (and pointing out every inequality), but it can't even hire a black anchor for it's prime time line up.

    Here's my spill on race, it's in the constitution: "All men are created equal". So if you are poor, work hard in school, and keep working hard when you get out. You are entitled to nothing. Be thankful for what you have.

    We are all Americans. I think we should drop African, Chineese, Gay, etc. from the front.

    April 7, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Miffed in VA

    McDonnell's actions have shown what he believes about others and it isn't good. The remainder of his term is going to be divisive and hateful and one can only hope that cooler heads prevail. God help us all.

    April 7, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    If this governor does not understand what the civil war was all about – then he needs to resign his office and go back to high school and get his diploma re-issued. He jsut seems like a really out of touch Republican so called conservative – maybe he needs to ask all of the black citizens of Virginia how they feel about his ability to run there state – Not likely to get there vote again – nor should he.........

    April 7, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. Gary N

    I am sick and tired of this "I am offended" junk. Some people are never going to be happy no matter what you do, its never good enough. That being the case I believe there is much growing up to do by some of these lawmakers who make up the "United States of the Offended.

    April 7, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. Tony U.S.M.C.

    What kind of an apology was that by governor McDonnell or should I say McDummy, I thought he was an educated man, I am sure he put some thought into this holiday before saying anything about it. So what will McDummy say next that Virginia can fly the confederate flag in the front yard, I am sure that Germany does have a National holiday month for Hitler.

    April 7, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. Carmelle

    This is just a glimpse of the kind of the republicans the party wants to be in power. If you don't support Dems, VOTE INDEPENDENT!!!

    This is crazy! I am seeing RED!!!

    April 7, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. CR

    McDonnell ran on a platform of jobs and public safety. He and his AG seem to be wasting all their time and our tax money to reignite culture wars, file frivolous health care lawsuits, and now worship the Confederacy. This clown is anything but a rising star in the GOP. Just another extremist wing nut.

    April 7, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Dina Levine

    When you start making a big deal about what the racist Democrats say, then more people will listen. Democrats have the minorities in their pocket and they know it. They use the minorities, I wish they would open their eyes and see it. Obama used all of you Democrats, now look what we have. Give me Bush any day of the week, at least we still resembled the United States of America when he left. I have no idea what will be left of the USA when Obama's done.

    April 7, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. John E Lexington KY

    Speaking as someone whose mother is from VA and who attended college there, it is sad that the people of the state voted in such an obvious 'beard' for racism, homophobia, and the 'old ways'. There was little romantic about the past of the South in regards to slavery, human rights and freedom. You had an economy entirely developed on crushing the backs of other human beings who were legally property. McDonald is who he is, but the shame is on the heads of the voters of Virginia just as the disgraces of the Bush II administration were the responsibility of those who voted for such a worthless man twice. Is there never a learning curve?

    April 7, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. southern cousin

    Very touchy, we will have to check all of the MLK proclamations issued for their inclusiveness. I bet this Marsh character is one of those typical liberal hypocrites.

    April 7, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Frank G

    I don't know which is more pathetic...Celebrating a dark period of American history or finding fault with its apparent lack of political correctness. Its truly amazing the levels to which American politicians will stoop to get votes.

    April 7, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. brad

    When is the south going to realize that they lost the civil war? As a result, they dont get to fly their rebel flag, and they dont get to have a "confederate month". They were traitors, clear and simple.

    April 7, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Eddie B.

    McDonnell is the voice that has taken over the GOP. He relishes in taking the state of Virginia back over 100 years. How am I suppose to celebrate Confederacy month as an African-American? Should I dress up like a slave with chains and call you "massah". Should I wave a confederate flag and have my children do the same? That flag and the confederacy is a sign of racism and pro-slavery. Hands down.

    April 7, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. no news here

    It wasn't mentioned because McDonnell doesn't consider it important. Please, we saw what type of weasle this guy was during the election with his thesis papers. What idiot is surprised that he would do something like this. He is a sophisticated Duke who never made the mistake on putting on the sheet. He made the proclamation to celebrate white southern priviledge not to celebrate the history of the PEOPLE of VA. And time will continue to reveal that this guy is trying to conceal his true nature and thoughts. But he will continue to reveal in insideous ways his sexism, racism, and homophobia. Congrats VA, this guy is a real winner.

    April 7, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. Jim T.

    Confederate history month?! You've got to be kidding! What's next, Al Quaida history month or perhaps the Third Reich? The Conferacy fought, in part, for the right to continue enslaving other human beings. That is hardly something to celebrate.

    April 7, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. juniorbee

    Confederate , or anything to do with Confederacy bring back bitter memories for Black folks, there are other important think or groups in Virginia the Gov can promote, but a system that de-grade another group of American no way, especially at this time when we have the first Black President, I wonder if he is going to proclamation a month call Nazi history

    April 7, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Steph

    As a white woman, I stand with State Sen. Henry Marsh III 100%.

    That's quite an omission! Anyone out there want to say that was an accident??????????

    April 7, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    What the governor meant to say was, "It was so long ago. Can't you people get over it?" He should have brought in Sarah and Michelle to articulate his apology better.

    April 7, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. Guest

    Why do southerners celebrate the Confederate States of America?

    April 7, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. I am Newt Limebaugh

    The typical GOP apology...I am sorry...I got caught.

    I doubt there is an ounce of sincereity in the GOP governor. What was he thinking...oh yeah...pander to the right...pander to the right

    April 7, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. Michael "Omowale" Haggerty

    There is absolutely no legitimate reason for any governmental entity state , national or local, to declare a "holiday" honoring confederates or the confederacy. One has only to look at historical documentation declaring reasons for secession (becoming confederates) by the various states to come to this conclusion. In Texas for example, the Texas secession document states emphatically that they intend to keep Africans enslaved perpetually. I would also look at early historical documents from the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy to uncover their blatantly racist beginnings.

    Honoring the south and it's traditions (minus it's history of slavery and racism , and support of the confederacty is not objectionable)

    April 7, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Woody Williams

    The interview we Martin shows just how racist he is. It appears that its fine to have a "black history month", but the south can't have one for the confederacy. You need to go BACK to school and understand that the civil war was NOT based on freeing the blacks, but who would have control of the government. As usual, CNN can't get the facts straight.

    April 7, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  23. Alex Probst

    The Confederate Soldier died for his country just like the Union soldier. The American Union Flag was draped on the dead Union soldier's coffin. The Confederate flag was draped on the dead Confederate soldier's coffin.
    Americains should have respect for both flags for soldiers who didn't really want to die just like today's soldier.
    Thank God that America is now united with citizens from every part of America.

    April 7, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. marc in california

    Great move Governor McDonnell! How about declaring May Holocaust appreciation month! Perhaps the day Martin Luther King was assasinated could be called Liberty Day! Better yet, July could be declared Spanish Inquisition Celebration month! Keep up the good work Robert McDonnell! You're a real inspiration to the youth of the United States. Excuse me, I mean the Confederate States!

    By the way, I'm being sarcastic!

    April 7, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. ran

    It was only a mistake after he was called out on it. This is a clear example of the fear/hate/obstructionism/purity ideology of the current Republican party.

    We need to stop this kind of hate/fear/purity thinking by electing either a true Democrat or Independent in 2010 and send a clear message to the current Republican establishment that enough is enough of their hate/fear/obstructionism/purity ideology.

    April 7, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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