Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford is now apologizing for initially challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election after being accused of disenfranchising black voters.
Lankford was one of 11 senators who signed a letter penned by Sen. Ted Cruz last month announcing their intent to vote “no” on certifying Electoral College votes from certain states where Republicans had questioned election integrity. Following last Wednesday’s riots at the U.S. Capitol, Lankford backed down from his pledge, instead voting to accept the electoral votes in favor of Joe Biden.
Now, he’s apologizing for offending people by originally questioning the election results, saying he understands that some saw his challenge as an attempt to delegitimize votes cast by black Americans.
“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 in his apology, in which he said he did not mean to “disenfranchise any voter or state.”
“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 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,” Lankford went on. “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.”