GOP Sen. Apologizes To Black Voters For Giving ‘Perception’ Of Trying To Delegitimize Their Votes

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) as he listens to a testimony during a Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations hearing on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
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January 15, 2021 8:58 a.m.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) sort of apologized to Black Oklahomans in a letter obtained by the Tulsa World on Thursday for participating in Republican lawmakers’ effort to overturn the election on President Donald Trump’s behalf.

Lankford claimed that when he backed Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) desperate plot to vote against certifying the election results and demand an “audit” of the votes from swing states Trump had lost instead, it was “never my intention to disenfranchise any voter or state.”

The GOP senator said he was “completely blindsided” by the Black community’s response to what he described as “my action of asking for more election information.”

“What I did not realize was all of the national conversation about states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, was seen as casting doubt on the validity of votes coming out of predominantly Black communities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit,” he wrote. “After decades of fighting for voting rights, many Black friends in Oklahoma saw this as a direct attack on their right to vote, for their vote to matter, and even a belief that their votes made an election in our country illegitimate.”

Then Lankford apologized for how his actions looked to them.

“In this instance, I should have recognized how what I said and what I did could be interpreted by many of you. I deeply regret my blindness to that perception, and for that I am sorry,” the senator wrote.

Lankford was among the 10 Republican senators who signed off on Cruz’s gambit several days before Congress’ joint session on January 6. However, the Oklahoma lawmaker changed his mind at the 11th hour and ultimately voted to certify the election results after a violent mob of Trump’s supporters ransacked the Capitol building after the President stoked their rage with falsehoods claiming the election had been stolen from him.

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