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. colorado

    Yet another tea partier that staples the fact that they are born idiots!!

    April 7, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. King Bay

    Mr. Henry Marsh is right. The Governor's pattern of shoot first and apologize later is quite disturbing. So far the Governor's actions have only helped to embolden only those that seek to divide Virginia. Let us see leadership in unity.

    Virginia celebrating the Confederacy...how absurd?!? That's like Germany celebrating the Nazis. I guess it makes sense that the Confederate History month started off with April Fools' day. Good going Governor.

    April 7, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  3. John Hennessy Black

    When did Virginia abolish Slavery?

    IF true, they just might have a chance of getting into the 19th. Century!

    April 7, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  4. phoenix86

    Slavey was abolished over 140 years ago. GET OVER IT.

    April 7, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. Jake

    Slavery ended a long time ago. Yes, the Confederacy was partly created due to slavery, but there was a lot more going on between the North and South that caused the South to cecede than just slavery. If people would educate themselves completely in subject before spouting off accusations of racism, then perhaps they wouldn't look so foolish.

    April 7, 2010 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. CNN! The Arm of the democratic party

    Typical... democrats can say stuff like this all day long and CNN doesn't mention a word. One republican says something related, CNN takes it out of context and all the liberals cry "racist"! It's a classic example of liberal hypocrisy.

    April 7, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. KO

    Are we supposed to think that McDonnell just "forgot" that slavery was an issue in the Civil War?? Does he think we're idiots??

    April 7, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. Scott

    What a load of nonsense. If he thinks the governor is a racist come out and say it. If not, stop trying to politically profit from something so ridiculous as this.

    False anger at stuff like this dilutes the perfectly legitimate anger that should be directed at real racism.

    April 7, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  9. m smith

    Hard to believe that the Governor of any state would forget slavery . And a southern state. Give me a break. This is repo selective memory at work again.

    April 7, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. david

    In April 1865, Lee unconditionally surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, thus extinguishing the unlawful and traitorous Confederacy once and for all.

    The Confederacy and its slave institutions were insults to our nation.

    How can anyone ever consider honoring it?

    Do we honor the Whiskey Rebellion participants that our 1st president George Washington himself defeated and had the rebellious traitors hanged? Then why does this Virginia governor want to honor these other traitors. Was Lincoln any less a great president than Washington?

    A true patriot and American would have declared April to be a celebration of our country and its victory of overcoming the traitorous and unlawful attempted succession and elimination of the inhumanity of slavery in our country once and for all. Instead, this governor honors the traitors.

    April 7, 2010 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. U.S. Common Sense

    I think people (both black and white) need to accept that slavery was Constitutionally legal at the time of the Civil War. To study the Civil War and the Confederacy and cherry-picking how the history should be studied and remembered does the current and future generations a huge disservice.

    Slavery was morally wrong but legal. Indian relocation was morally wrong but legal. Limiting who can and can't vote was morally wrong but legal. We don't have to keep apologizing each and every time when these topics or topics that have ties to these come up.

    April 7, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. mike davis

    What is happening among black people today. We delight in dissing each other, killing each other and not supporting one another. In the meantime we allow this racist proclamation to be made in a state trying to whitewash history. The last I checked there were almost 2 million black people in Virginia. The fact that this governor has the gall to do this action suggest that he thought he could get away with it. He could never have gotten away with declaring Nazi history month (although the jewish people whom I respect dearly make up a much smaller portion of the Virginia population than black people) or apartheid month but he gets away with this outrage. Where are the black people of Virginia to protest, March on the Virginia capital or do what is necessary to reverse this abominable proclamation. Do many of the black people of Virginia even know what the confederacy entailed. The black youth should look at us black adults with shame for allowing this.

    April 7, 2010 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. Sheila C. Clarke

    In the year 2010 I can not for the life of me believe that any
    state whether northern or southern should commemorate the
    racist ideology of the Confederate government. By the way
    how does Douglas Wilder support such a racist event.
    How does Fox responds to the observance of the Confederate
    Those African Americans supporting this governor needs to
    read an American History Book.

    April 7, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. JoAnne

    2 little, 2 late, Guv. Reflects typical white Republicans' attitude.

    April 7, 2010 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  15. CBR

    The governor knew he was in trouble with lots of groups and had to amend his stand. Another case where a governor did not consult anyone before he made this rash pronouncement.

    I would not be quick to accept his apology either. He stepped on lots of toes and pushed an agenda on the schools without thinking about the consequences.

    That being said I am not the list bit surprised that he wants confederate history taught.

    April 7, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  16. floridian

    Gee, I wonder what else in Virginia's history the Governor failed to mention in his proclamation? I'm offended that he didn't mention all those who gave their life serving in the military during all the wars this country was involved in. I'm offended he didn't mention my attendance at a professional military education school in Norfolk in 1972 and my contribution to Virginia at that time. You know, nobody offends a person - tht person allows themselves to be offended. Get over it Congressman - your being offended and the slavery issue - no generation alive had anything to do with it.

    April 7, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. dentri

    of course not accept .What is goign on .Who they are to accept appologize.They are not God .God is the only one to decide.Move on

    April 7, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  18. Vinessia

    This was no mistake! This governor is an inconsiderate, racist pig!!

    April 7, 2010 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Frustrated....

    I am so sick and tired of "politics"....If the governor was a Democrat... Marsh would have gladly accepted the apology.

    This is no more than Democrats vs. Republicans.....and the citizens of the United States are caught in the cross fire.

    We talk more of slavery and racism than we do of our Founding Fathers.....and the Contitution of the United States that protects us ALL... regardless of color.

    Maybe we should demand our politicans to focus on the actual issues of the day....and lay to rest the actions of the past along side the bodies of those long dead who actually committed the acts.

    April 7, 2010 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    Of course no one wants to accept it. It's called political ammunition. Though I would wager, that those same individuals would want others to forgive their transgression! Get a life people!

    April 7, 2010 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  21. Jim

    He's a racist, bigot and should be impeached.

    April 7, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  22. gr

    Racist is very hard to hide and the GOP are really having a hard time hiding their racist views. I don't want his aplogy. It is too late!

    April 7, 2010 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. Jim

    Confederate History Month has been celebrated for many years in many southern states. It is not to commemorate one person or one event but to remember all those that died and fought or were caught up in the bloody war that took place on American soil between 1861 and 1865. This war is called by many names because we as a people cannot even give it a name without arguments. It was not about any one particular cause. There were many differences that caused that war, slavery was only one of many causes. All the events can be divided into socioeconomics or cultural differences. It is about History and the month of April saw the beginning and end of the war so it is appropriate that April be named Confederate History Month. It is about history and people may not find all of history pleasing but it is history and this was part of the history of our nation. He who does not know history, has no history.

    April 7, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  24. Clay Ramsey

    As a Virginian I accept his apology, if you're not from Virginia then your opinion doesn't matter. Go sit in the corner and color.

    April 7, 2010 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. Kimberly

    Perhaps instead of fighting our Governors proclamation, we should take this opportunity to really engage in a deep and abiding conversation about the institution of slavery that in so many ways still divides our country today. History books, not so unintentionally, skirt around the conversation giving mostly cursory attention. Perhaps this is an opportunity to expose the really ugly truth that we try to avoid.

    April 7, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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