Republican Sen. Dale Zorn apologized for wearing a face mask with a pattern that resembled the Confederate flag on it during a senate debate.
Senator Zorn wore the mask as state senators debated revoking Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergence powers, which she has invoked to put in place a stay-at-home order aimed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
A group of protesters rallied in the Michigan state capitol last week to urge Whitmer to reopen businesses and allow the state’s residents to spend time out of their homes. Whitmer noted that some of the protesters were flying Confederate flags during the rally.
Senator Zorn said it was not a confederate flag on his mask but told his wife the mask would “probably raise some eyebrows.” Zorn said his wife made the mask for him and she had told him that the pattern looked more like the state flag of Kentucky or Tennessee. However, many people on social media pointed out that the mask’s pattern more closely resembled the Confederate flag than either of those flags.
Zorn apologized for wearing the mask via Twitter on Saturday, saying that he was sorry for his “choice of pattern” and “did not intend to offend anyone.”
1/2:— Dale W. Zorn (@DaleZornSenate) April 25, 2020
I’m sorry for my choice of pattern on the face mask I wore yesterday on the Senate floor. 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.
State Senator Jeff Irwin, a Democrat, criticize Zorn’s mask on Twitter Friday, declaring that “The Confederate flag should never be worn, especially by an elected official. It dishonors our fellow Michiganders. It dishonors the battle flags in our rotunda. It dishonors our state.”
Jim Ananich, Democratic leader of the Michigan state senate, also said that he was “disappointed” that Zorn had decided to wear the mask.
“When he was called out for it, he didn’t seem to even understand or acknowledge what the problem was,” Ananich tweeted. “At a time when tensions are high and Michiganders are dying, this is a terrible distraction from the conversations we are having about how to save more lives.”