So you'll remember
that on Tuesday, a DOJ report found that John Tanner, the former chief of the department's voting rights section, had told a colleague over email in 2004 that he liked his coffee "Mary Frances Berry style -- black and bitter." Berry, an African-American, was at the time the chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights.
Now Tanner is trying to make amends. Moments ago he forwarded to TPMmuckraker a letter of apology
he sent to Berry dated January 13.
Tanner -- who has a history of questionable racial remarks and appears
still to be working on voting issues on DOJ's payroll -- explains that he only used the phrase because he had recently heard an African-American customer at a coffee shop order coffee "black and sweet -- like me."
Still, he says, it was "a very poor choice of words," "flippant" and "ill-considered."
Then -- in kind of a stretch -- he further explains: "The term bitter, of course, meant no sugar in the coffee, and was not meant as a reflection on you or your attitude towards a challenging situation."
And Tanner adds: "I am well aware of your many significant contributions to our country's racial equality and justice."
See the full letter here