GOP Sen. Lankford Issues Apology to Black Tulsans

GOP Sen. Lankford Issues Apology to Black Tulsans lankford in a gray suit and purple tie Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. (Al Drago/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Friday, 15 January 2021 10:21 AM

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is apologizing to Black Tulsans for posing an Electoral College challenge last week, seeking a mere 10-day audit of election results.

"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 wrote in an open letter "to my friends in North Tulsa." "As a United States senator representing almost four million Oklahomans, I am committed to hearing from all Oklahomans, answering questions, and addressing our challenges to strive toward a more perfect union.

"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."

Tulsa is the infamous city of the 1921 race riots and Lankford faced cancel culture calls that he be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, Tulsa World reported.

"When I announced my support for an Electoral Commission to spend 10 days auditing the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, it was never my intention to disenfranchise any voter or state," Lankford wrote. "It was my intention to resolve any outstanding questions before the inauguration on Jan. 20.

"I believe Congress cannot legally ignore any state's electors or change any state's vote, but we can work to get answers to outstanding questions I want to strengthen the confidence all Americans have in their electoral system so everyone is encouraged to vote and knows their vote matters."

Lankford admitted, while he had good intentions, he understands the harm done to voters from Democrat-controlled urban areas.

"But my action of asking for more election information caused a firestorm of suspicion among many of my friends, particularly in Black communities around the state," Lankford wrote. "I was completely blindsided, but I also found a blind spot.

"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. 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."