Yesterday McDonnell issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, after a request from Dorsey's group. "We've known for quite some time we had a good opportunity should he ascend the governorship," Dorsey told reporters. But the move -- which had been avoided by the state's two previous governors -- angered civil-rights groups and others. And today, McDonnell apologized for the fact that the proclamation had failed to mention slavery, issuing a statement that declared that slavery "led to the Civil War," and calling the practice "evil, vicious and inhumane."
Contacted this afternoon by TPMmuckraker, Dorsey said he was unaware of McDonnell's apology. After it was read to him, Dorsey said the apology "comes as a shock," and accused the governor of "pandering to people who never would have voted for him nor supported any of his policies."
Making clear that he was speaking only for himself, Dorsey said that the apology "completely undermined the purpose of the resolution." He added: "We would probably have rather not had a proclamation whatsoever, than for him to add a clause that says that everything that we support and everything we hold dear has to do with slavery."
But Brag Bowling, who uses the title Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, said Dorsey was "off base." "I support Governor McDonnell one hundred percent," said Bowling. "I think he did a courageous thing even issuing the proclamation."
"It's not an insult," Bowling added. "No one in their right mind is in support of slavery."
Last month, McDonnell issued a statement confirming that discrimination was illegal, after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had advised the state's universities that they could not legally ban discrimination against gays.
Additional reporting by Rachel Slajda