Gov. Abercrombie issues apology for remarks on Sen. Inouye "death bed" letter

By Yunji de Nies
Published On: Apr 14 2014 07:32:33 PM HST
Updated On: Apr 14 2014 11:07:12 PM HST

Governor Neil Abercrombie makes a surprising statement, questioning the authenticity of the death bed letter from the Senator Daniel Inouye.

HONOLULU -

Gov. Neil Abercrombie makes a surprising statement, questioning the authenticity of the death bed letter from Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Click here for Yunji de Nies' report.

In that letter, Inouye asked that Colleen Hanabusa be named his successor. Then hours later, the governor apologized for the words the Senator's widow calls hurtful.

On the day Sen. Inouye died, an emotional Abercrombie shared one last thought from the Senator.

"He made clear to me in a communication of his love and affection for us all," said Abercrombie.

The Governor did not publicly share another message from Sen. Inouye; the now famous death bed letter asking him to appoint Colleen Hanabusa in his place in Washington.

Abercrombie then chose Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz instead.

In an article Monday, Abercrombie tells the L.A. times: "I received that letter ostensibly coming from Sen. Inouye, himself, a half an hour before he died in Washington D.C. literally….Whether or not this could be construed as Sen. Inouye's dying wish – let me put it this way is problematic. I think it was kind of created."

Monday afternoon KITV4 caught up with Abercrombie.

"I really don't have anything to say about the letter. It came. It was marked personal. I read it and I absorbed it and those who put it together I think have to answer about the letter," said Abercrombie.

"The governor's comments about Dan's wishes are very hurtful. To question the letter and the authenticity of Dan's last wishes is certainly disrespectful to Dan, to me and to his family, friends and former staff," said Inouye's widow Irene Hirano Inouye.

Then later Monday evening, the governor issued an apology.

"I regret that my comments were interpreted as hurtful and disrespectful. Sen. Inouye was, without a doubt, one of the finest leaders in Hawaii's history and a mentor to me," said Abercrombie.

Sen. Brian Schatz released a brief statement Monday saying, "I do not question the authenticity of Sen. Inouye's Letter."

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