GOP Senator James Lankford Apologizes To Black Constituents For Opposing Election Results

Senator James Lankford (R‑OK) has issued an apol­o­gy to some of his Black con­stituents in Tulsa, Oklahoma for his inten­tion to object to some Electoral College results on January 6. Lankford had planned to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s win but changed his mind fol­low­ing the riot at the Capitol that left five peo­ple dead. He sent a let­ter to “My friends in North Tulsa” on Thursday.

The let­ter said the sen­a­tor’s actions “caused a firestorm of sus­pi­cion among many of my friends, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Black com­mu­ni­ties around the state. I was com­plete­ly blind­sided, but I also found a blind spot.”

What I did not real­ize was all of the nation­al con­ver­sa­tions 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,” Lankford’s let­ter went on.“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.”
“I can assure you my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had ques­tions was nev­er also an intent to dimin­ish the voice of any Black American,” he said.

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

Lankford has faced calls to resign from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission because of his ini­tial inten­tion to oppose cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, accord­ing to Tulsa World.
On Wednesday, Lankford told Public Radio Tulsa that he bore no respon­si­bil­i­ty for the vio­lence at the Capitol but he had­n’t ruled out vot­ing in favor of impeach­ing President Donald Trump.

And while I’m very aware that there were peo­ple there that were caught up and were say­ing that there were prob­lems [with the elec­tion], I’m also very aware that when I talk to peo­ple one-on-one and I say, ‘Hey, do you think that there are some peo­ple that vot­ed twice? That there are peo­ple that vot­ed who were dead? That there are peo­ple that vot­ed in two dif­fer­ent states?’ the typ­i­cal response I hear back is, ‘Yes, but that hap­pens in every elec­tion.’ The prob­lem is we’ve heard that for so long that we’ve become accus­tomed to [it],” Lankford said.

We’ve got to actu­al­ly seek answers to ques­tions, and peo­ple can seek to accept truth or not accept truth, but you’ve got to be able to get answers to questions.”

Lankford accept­ed that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were the legit­i­mate win­ners of the election.