RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Governor Bob McDonnell has gotten lots of criticism this week for leaving out slavery in a proclamation calling April "Confederate History Month." President Barack Obama is calling it an unacceptable omission.
Three months ago, Governor Bob McDonnell issued the republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Now, Obama's responding to the governor's latest proclamation.
The president says Americans can't understand the Civil War without understanding slavery. A week ago, the governor declared April as Confederate History Month- but failed to mention the role slavery played in the war. That omission quickly sparked controversy.
"Everyone knows what the confederate flag and those symbols have been used for, not during the Civil War but after the Civil War. They've been symbols of hate, white supremacy and those kinds of things," said King Salim Khalfani with Virginia State NAACP.
McDonnell said he apologized if he offended anyone. A footnote condemning slavery was added.
"Slavery was an absolute abomination on this nation. It was the darkest period in our history and it was a vile and horrific practice that I'm glad was wiped off the face of this country. And so I didn't mention it solely because I was trying to focus on the war aspects of it," said McDonnell.
"He apologized, apologized, apologized," said Khalfani.
Khalfani said apologies aren't enough.
"Repeal. Repeal. Repeal. That would make his apology really legitimate," he said.
We reached out to the governor for comment but didn't get a response Friday. The NAACP was happy that Governor McDonnell reached out to the organization, which now working with the governor's office to set up another meeting in the coming weeks.