Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford apologized to his black constituents for challenging President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, saying that he failed to recognize that his actions casted “doubt on the validity of votes” in majority black cities like Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia.
Lankford, who originally joined a group of senators led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that said they would object to Biden’s victory unless Congress launched a commission to audit the results, ultimately withdrew his objection after being trapped in the Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6.
“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, Tulsa World first reported.
“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,” he 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’m sorry.”
Several Republicans, including President Donald Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have baselessly alleged that voter fraud in cities like Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta swung the states to Biden, despite the fact that courts and state officials have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, the two senators who led objections to Arizona and Pennsylvania’s elections, respectively, have faced massive backlash. Local newspapers in their states have called on them to resign, and Hawley’s cooperation led publisher Simon and Schuster to cancel his upcoming book, a move that Hawley described as “Orwellian.”
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