April 8th, 2010
10:16 AM ET
12 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 • JKUSA • John King USA • Virginia
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Tom in Delaware

    Like with everything else from the Left, nothing is ever 'Good Enough'....if it were then they'd have to stop being poor little victims all the time.


    April 8, 2010 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  2. Brian

    If it would have been say Harry Reid he could use any term he wanted. Or maybe Robert Byrd...this guy has an R after his name so crucify him.

    April 8, 2010 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  3. paul

    What the heck do you expect to hear from a Republican Confederate Repuvlican. Most of the Republicans politicians in the South are Born Again Confederates. If the Southern Lawmakers, and executives are unhappy then it is again time for their states to finally and thankfully leave the union. I think the Union was too lienent with the South after the War Between the States. President Lincoln should have given , the great general and patriot, William (Uncle Billy) Sherman more free reign on how he was to treat the South.

    April 8, 2010 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  4. High Horse

    Somone needs to tell all these people tossing racism allegations around to get off of thier high horse. This racism card is getting played WAY too much.

    There was not one shred of solid proof when people were accused the day of the health care vote of spitting on, or using the n word to those who walked though a protest crowd.

    People say anone who did NOT vote for Obama are racist. They are calling any republican, racist.

    These black lawmakers need to stop fueling the fire.

    April 8, 2010 05:49 am at 5:49 am |

    I wonder why this wingnut did this in the first place? He wanted to make the racist teaparty happy. They have confederate flags at every rally.

    April 8, 2010 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  6. anthony

    One has to ask now with all this race stuff going on has judgement from god enter the house of america?

    April 8, 2010 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  7. andy

    He is an embarrassment along with his sidekick Kookinelli

    April 8, 2010 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  8. beanne

    Hello...I'm a Virgianian and this is soooo stupid and unproductive and devisive. All the Governor wanted to do was to bring business to Virginia by making April confederate month and remembering the 150th anniversary of the civil war...WHY oh WHY do the blacks always have to make everything a black and white issue? If they are sincere about improving race relations than they need to move beyond this raciest devisevness. I do not see the Indians in an uproar everytime history is mentioned and if anyone should be in an uproar it's the American Indian. Lets stop with all this childish chatter and thie. I'm not ready to accept his apology "...noooo you just want attention and to get your name on the cover of newsweek......Obama , Jessie, OJ, and Sharpton and now this guy Marsh, has done more to divide this Country than to bring it together. Donna Brazile you are a stand up woman and kudos to you.

    April 8, 2010 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  9. Jim - Michigan

    The truth of the matter is that the African American community needs to keep racial issues alive and at the forefront of every issue; without interjecting race into everything they become irrelevent and would have to face the truth of what is really causing problems in their communities. Lack of parental involvement, a lack of interest in their childrens education and future and let us not forget the oh poor me, I am a victim mentality.

    April 8, 2010 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  10. dh

    I think it is simple. Gov McDonnell is appealing to the worst in his Virginia citizenship. State's rights maybe the stated issue for honoring the Confederacy, but there is no denying that race is a subtext. If you want to celebrate, do it as a sad era in US history, where disagreement came to blows, and to deny slavery as a part of that argument is revisionist at best.

    April 8, 2010 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  11. GGG

    Can we stop pulling the RACE card...this is why it continues!!! Not excepting the apologies makes you NO better than the person that "offended" you.. Get over it already...whaa whaa whaa..let's see if Cnn allows this through!!

    April 8, 2010 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  12. max

    Why do minorities still wonder why there is a large abyss between the past and future regarding race relations in the present day?

    Stop making race an issue and it will cease to be one. It alarms me that there are so many prominent minority organizations that continue to fan the flames, and then point to the laughably obsolete (and rightfully so) hate and supremacist organizations as being the culprits.

    I am 100% certain that Governor McDonnell's support of a way of recognizing Confederate heritage is motivated purely by a desire to provide a reminder of what happens when huge constituencies become disenfranchised with the current state of affairs, which still applies today.

    Though the United States may never see another secession, at least in your or my lifetime, the Civil War is still relevant today.

    Some people have just had it with the federal government..myself included, though I will abstain from turning this post into a personal rant.

    I am a registered Independent from Maryland, I voted for Obama, whom I continue to support, however cautiously.

    Let us not dwell on the evils of slavery, let us have this proposed Confederate Heritage month stand for what it is intended to: a reminder that this is still a government 'of the people, by the people, for the people.'

    April 8, 2010 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  13. Willy Brown

    Let’s be equal across the board. In order to not offend anybody and to promote harmony. Let’s put all special history months together and have one month called “Whiners month”. That should pretty much take care of 99.9% of the people.

    April 8, 2010 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  14. Anonymous

    so donna brazile tweeted her acceptance of the reformed right wing zealot governor's apology. is this the same guy who promised he was now a mainstream american? guess that resolves it. this guy and the attorney general are fast making virginia the butt of a bad joke. nice work.

    April 8, 2010 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  15. luis salazar

    African-Americans, (A.A) should stopt whining for eveything,last one was at Wal-Mart,New Jersey. I was born in Texas,hispanic,I live in Dallas Tx., and if a A.A scream at Fiesta grocery store asking hispanic people to leave the store,everybody we will laughing,and if the Australian California Governor missed to talk about when many years ago,USA government paid "the coyotes" to bring hispanic people to California,Arizona,Texas,etc., & work for cheaper labor, and until now,hispanics get cheaper labor.

    Do you think,hispanic people care about that? we didn't & don't care,so if California or Virginia governors like to wipe their butts with their old flags,is up to them ,go for it,but if African_Americans want to waste time & wash"stinky flags",it's realy stupid.

    April 8, 2010 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  16. Joyce

    Oh for Christ's sake, can't our politicians just GROW UP! Their childish behaviour is disgusting.

    April 8, 2010 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  17. Robert

    Get over it.

    April 8, 2010 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  18. W

    For once someone wants to focus on the 'positives' of the South but is attacked because of it. Instead there are those who want to constantly paint this evil image of all those whose ancestors lived in the South. This is just as offensive to present Southerners as is this one time omission of slavery from an otherwise positive event to some others. Perhaps the next time a dedicated Black only 'positive' event is held we should balance that with some 'negative' presentations as well. We all want to be proud of our heritage, but today it seems that Whites are constantly being denied that show of esteem.

    April 8, 2010 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  19. vegage

    This shows the real fabric of conservatives. They are just not truthful about slavery, the truth is that they are angry and sad that the south lost to the north in the civil war and that slavery was abolished. A proclamation to celebrate and honor the confederate soldiers is just an abomination like the slavery itself was, it is just silly and crazy. This is the same like if in Germany a proclamation was issued to honor the nazi soldiers, the jewish would be outraged. In this case blacks and the whole american people should be disgusted with this proclamation act.

    April 8, 2010 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  20. vetdude

    Of course it is not enough, and never will be. I am native Hawaiian which is far more a minority than blacks but for some reason blacks think they have the corner market on getting the short end of the stick. Get over it. I am over the fact the US overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy and imposed the US goverments will. The continued racial divide created by groups like the NAACP (which by the way I am a person of color but never saw the group fighting for Hawaiian rights) and the Nation of Islam (Louis and his racists officers) do absolutely nothing to address the issue of equality. It is more of give me everything I ask for but make sure it only applies to blacks. Give me a break.

    April 8, 2010 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  21. Brian L

    What would Lincoln think?

    You can drive down Jefferson Davis Highway and now his own party advocates Confederate History Month and conveniently forgets to mention slavery when we have our first black president.

    April 8, 2010 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  22. Livin' the good life

    "...says the wrong thing, he [they] send/s a signal to [their] base and then [they] make/s an apology." This hits the nail on the head! It ALSO applies to others, not just McDonnell. People should THINK before they speak about how their words affect others. Why is it that once the bell is rung, some think an apology "unrings" it? SAD Why are not people not held more accountable for their choice of words and actions these days? OOPS! I messed up. Well, it's like "I cannot recall"... Do we REALLY want these people making decisions for us if they cannot recall WHAT they do or realize what they say? It's also like pleading temporary insanity, does that guarantee they won't go insane AGAIN in the future!? Beau Colby

    April 8, 2010 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  23. Vicky

    I reject Gov. McDonnell's apology and if I lived in Virginia, would call for his resignation. In case anyone hasn't noticed, there is a pattern of this type of not so subtle racism going on in our country, always followed by either silence and denial or hollow apologies. We all have an obligation to speak up and call out anyone who incites hatred and division. Shame on you Governor! And by the way, I happen to be white.

    April 8, 2010 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  24. jeremy

    I must have missed something, isn't the confederacy a part of our nation's history? Why not 'remember' it? Granted the south was/is a bunch of backwards rednecks, but hey, they have a right to remember what happened, if for no other reason, so it doesn't get repeated.

    April 8, 2010 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  25. ATrumble

    I agree it's not enough. This Governor has thumbed his nose at those who didn't vote for him and who don't agree with his philosophy to this point in his term. He has made our Commonwealth a national joke (along with his pal Cucinelli). Virginians need to remember this and vote them out come election season.

    April 8, 2010 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
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