Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) is apologizing to his constituents for his decision to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win amid the Capitol riots.
Lankford found himself under fire from black voters after building goodwill with minority communities in his state following his attempt to challenge ballots cast in battleground states. Many minority voters saw Lankford’s attempts as casting doubt on voters in cities with large numbers of black Americans.
In a letter addressed to his “friends in North Tulsa,” the site of the worst incident of racial violence in American history, the senator asked for forgiveness.
The Tulsa World’s Randy Krehbiel reports:
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, however, with some leaders saying he should resign or be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
“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.