A Michigan lawmaker apologized after wearing a face mask that resembled a Confederate flag—a day after denying the pattern on his mask resembled it.
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Republican state Sen. Dale Zorn wore the red mask with blue stripes and white stars on it on Friday to the GOP-controlled chambers to vote on measures related to the new coronavirus.
Zorn first said the face-covering—made by his wife—didn’t resemble the Confederate flag. Instead, he claimed the pattern was more similar to the Kentucky or Tennessee flags.
“I told my wife it probably will raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag,” Zorn said.
And even if it was a Confederate flag, Zorn initially said, “we should be talking about teaching our national history in schools.”
“That’s part of our national history,” he said.
But on Saturday, Zorn apologized after facing intense criticism for the face mask. According to the Washington Post, Zorn received flak from fellow lawmakers and the state’s lieutenant governor, who is Black.
In various tweets, some noted the pattern is especially offensive given the coronavirus’ toll on the Black community nationally.
“I’m sorry for my choice of pattern on the face mask I wore yesterday on the Senate floor,” Zorn tweeted Saturday. “I did not intend to offend anyone; however, I realize that I did, and for that I am sorry. Those who know me best know that I do not support the things this pattern represents.”
“My actions were an error in judgment for which there are no excuses and I will learn from this episode,” he added.
His apology doesn’t mention why he previously denied the mask’s Confederate pattern.