OKLAHOMA CITY (TULSA WORLD/KFOR) – A congressman from Oklahoma is now apologizing to Black constituents in Tulsa after he said he would oppose the Electoral College results at the Capitol, as first reported by the Tulsa World.
After violent protesters stormed the Capitol and forced lawmakers to take cover, the FBI continues to search for those responsible.
At the same time, many Americans are seeking answers from their congressional representatives regarding the baseless claims of voter fraud and conspiracy theories surrounding the election.
Sen. James Lankford initially said that he would challenge the votes because he wanted a commission to be formed to provide a 10-day audit of President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. However, those claims have been debunked multiple times in courts across the country and event at the U.S. Supreme Court.
As he was speaking on the floor, lawmakers were instructed to leave and head to safe locations in the Capitol had been breached by a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters.
When Lankford was able to resume his comments on the flood, he said he would no longer challenge the results.
“In Oklahoma, we would say, ‘Why in God’s name would someone think attacking law enforcement and occupying the U.S. Capitol is the best way in showing you are right?’” Senator James Lankford said.
“We are headed towards tonight the certification of Joe Biden as President of the United States,” Lankford added.
Lankford released the following full statement late Wednesday night:
“Today is a sad day for our country. The destruction and violence at our nation’s Capitol is an assault on democracy. We thank the men and women of the US Capitol Police for working to restore peace. The actions at the Capitol are indefensible and not supported by the vast majority of Trump supporters. We must rise above the violence.
We must, and we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power. The violent actions of these rioters severely damages efforts to restore confidence in our elections. We will continue our calls to examine election integrity through all legal and peaceful means.
We now need the entire Congress to come together and vote to certify the election results. We must stand together as Americans. We must defend our Constitution and the rule of law.”
SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD
Organizers say they felt that Lankford’s support for the false claims provided credence to those who have consistently worked to prevent Black voices from being heard.
“This is a great example of Black people voting in record numbers, with a coalition of people who look different, who are being told, ‘No, their votes didn’t count,’” said state Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa.
Now, Sen. Lankford is apologizing to Black constituents, saying he didn’t realize that his criticism of the Electoral College votes could have a racial undertone.
In a letter to “My friends in North Tulsa” obtained by the Tulsa World, Lankford says he knows 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.”
Lankford says he had no idea that people would view the his actions as questioning the legitimacy of Black voters.
“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,” he wrote.
Lankford says it was never his intent to take away the voice of any Black American.
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