Republican senator James Lankford issued an apology to African American voters in Oklahoma on Thursday for contesting Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, claiming he was unaware his challenge would cast "doubt on the validity of votes" in largely Black cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
According to local paper Tulsa World, Lankford has worked with black Tulsans, specifically in the historic Greenwood District, more so than any other statewide Republican lawmakers in decades.
"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 said in a letter.
He told voters that he intended to "give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions" and that he didn't want to "diminish the voice of any Black American."
"I should have recognised 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," he added.
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) January 7, 2021
Several black leaders in the state have been demanding the GOP senator's removal from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which is dedicated to educating communities about the massacre of 300 people by a white supremacist mob.
Lankford was one of 11 senators, led by Texas' Ted Cruz, who planned to oppose the Electoral College vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory. He later withdrew his objection after the Capitol building was stormed by a group of pro-Trump protestors the same day.
Cruz and Senator Josh Hawley have been hit with calls to resign from their positions after being accused of inciting the Capitol Hill riot, spurred on by claims by President Trump that the November election victory was fraudulent.