*Sen. James Lankford, one of the 11 Senate Republicans who planned to object to the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden, is now apologizing to his Black constituents for not recognizing that his involvement in questioning the results would offend them.
He later withdrew his objection after the pro-Trump siege of the Capitol. In fact, it was Lankford who was in the midst of his objection on Jan. 6 when his speech on the Senate floor was interrupted and Senators were rushed to safety – as the mob of Trump supporters broke into the building.
After Lankford’s comments on the Senate floor, several state Black leaders said he should be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which is dedicated to educating communities about the massacre that killed 300 people.
In a letter addressed to “My friends in North Tulsa,” Lankford acknowledges that his 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.”
His decision to raise issues about the presidential election in several key states — most of them with large African American populations — hurt and angered many Tulsans, with some leaders saying he should resign or be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
In his letter, though, Lankford asks for another chance.
“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.
“I can assure you,” he said, “my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions was never also an intent to diminish the voice of any Black American.
“I should have recognized how what I said and what I did could be interpreted by many of you,” he said. “I deeply regret my blindness to that perception, and for that I am sorry.”