- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2021

Sen. James Lankford apologized to the Black community in a letter Thursday, saying his opposing the presidential election results in some states was interpreted as a “direct attack on their right to vote.”

“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,” Mr. Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, wrote in a letter addressed to “My friends in North Tulsa,” Tulsa World reported.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

Several prominent Black Tulsans on Wednesday had called on Mr. Lankford to resign or be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission because of his objection to the Electoral College results.

“This is a great example of Black people voting in record numbers, with a coalition of people who look different, who are being told, ‘No, their votes didn’t count,’” Democratic state Rep. Monroe Nichols told Tulsa World Thursday.



Mr. Lankford said he was “shocked” to learn of the racial implications of his actions.

“Some people caught me and said, ‘Let me describe it to you this way’ — and they were spot-on with this — ‘You hear the president say, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania are problems. We hear the president say, Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia are problems,’” he said.

On Jan. 2, Mr. Lankford signed onto a letter from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz calling for an emergency 10-day delay in certifying the electoral votes so that a commission could audit the election returns in “disputed states.” The senator was in the process of voting to object against the certification on Jan. 6 when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and temporarily halted the vote.

Mr. Lankford later withdrew his objection once Congress reconvened, issuing a joint statement with Republican Sen. Steve Daines saying Congress needed to “come together” in that moment and certify the election.

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