GOP Sen. Lankford Apologizes to Black Tulsans for Questioning Election Results

In this image from video, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks as the Senate reconvenes after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)
Senate Television via AP

After a potential offense, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) has issued an apology to residents in north Oklahoma on Thursday after he questioned the 2020 presidential election results, according to Tulsa World.

Addressed to “My friends in North Tulsa,” Lankford says his decision to question the results “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.”

According to the publication Tulsa World, “Lankford has been more involved with Black Tulsans, and particularly the historic Greenwood District, than any statewide Republican officeholder in decades.”

In his letter, Lankford attempted to reason with black voters and asked for forgiveness.

“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,” Lankford said.

“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,” Lankford 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.”

“I was shocked (when Black friends) said to me, ‘This was about keeping African Americans from voting.’ My comment to them was, ‘That never crossed my mind. Why would I do that? Why would I think that?'” Lankford added. “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.”

Due to his questioning of the election results, several prominent black Tulsans, including state Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa), are not willing to reason with Lankford or attempt to understand his reasoning and have called for his removal or resignation from the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Committee.

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