Senator hands outrage culture a win, apologizes for wearing Confederate flag face mask after defending it only a day earlier
Republican Dale Zorn was photographed wearing the mask while in the Michigan state chamber on Friday to vote on bills seeking to limit the emergency powers of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is Dale Zorn. He is an elected member of the Michigan Senate. He wore a Confederate Flag mask on the floor of the Michigan Senate. Then he tried to tell us he didn't. THIS IS MICHIGAN, NOT MISSISSIPPI!Get that trash outta here. pic.twitter.com/uTOaBzweTO— Bryan Newland (@RealBNewland) April 25, 2020
After sharp criticism for his choice of fabric design, Zorn took to Twitter to issue an apology.
“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,” Zorn tweeted.
“Those who know me best know that I do not support the things this pattern represents,” he added.
2/2:My actions were an error in judgment for which there are no excuses and I will learn from this episode.— Dale W. Zorn (@DaleZornSenate) April 25, 2020
What makes the apology appear more like an attempt to control the narrative and giving into criticism rather than a genuine attempt at admitting a mistake is the fact Zorn had defended the mask in a Friday interview with WLNS. He said the fabric was similar to the Tennessee or Kentucky flags. The station ran a comparison between the flags, which didn’t show much similarity.
Props to @WLNS for showing mid-Michigan TV viewers what the Kentucky and Tennessee state flags look like.Those state flags look nothing like the mask design that Senator Zorn was wearing on the Senate floor. But the Confederate flag does. pic.twitter.com/XZG0yomLll— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) April 25, 2020
He also revealed his wife made the mask and told him to wear it, and he knew it would “raise some eyebrows.”
“I told my wife it probably would raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag,” he said.
Zorn went a step further and explained even if it were a Confederate flag, people should not be offended.
“We should be talking about teaching our national history in schools and that’s part of our national history and it’s something we can’t just throw away because it is part of our history. And if we want to make sure that the atrocities that happened during that time doesn’t happen again, we should be teaching it. Our kids should know what that flag stands for,” he said.
Asked what the flag stands for, he replied simply, “the Confederacy.”
Zorn’s apology has not done much to quiet the controversy he stirred.
“C’mon, Sir. Who are you fooling?” liberal writer Charlotte Clymer tweeted along with a photo of Zorn wearing the mask.
“We live in a country where people think it’s OK to fly confederate flags & wear them as facial masks. Dale Zorn is a Michigan state senator, BTW. We know what that flag means. We know the racist history of it,” Associated Press writer Kat Stafford tweeted.
“Kat, why do you need to report on race?” 👇🏾We live in a country where people think it’s OK to fly confederate flags & wear them as facial masks. Dale Zorn is a Michigan state senator, BTW. We know what that flag means. We know the racist history of it. https://t.co/Q1krfUWdFt— Kat Stafford (@kat__stafford) April 25, 2020
Michigan senator yesterday: “Our kids should know what that [Confederate] flag stands for.”Michigan senator today: “I did not intend to offend anyone; however, I realize that I did, and for that I am sorry.” https://t.co/WzEDt1YgXdpic.twitter.com/93NxNiqQeW— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 25, 2020
More Republican gaslighting: Michigan Republican @DaleZornSenate wants us to believe he didn't know that his mask resembles a confederate battle flag. He thought it was the flag of Tennessee or maybe Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/8QDXl5VCKu— Bill Weinman (@🏠) 🧢 (@billweinman) April 25, 2020
Fellow State Senator Jeff Irwin condemned Zorn wearing the mask and said it “dishonors” the state.
The Confederate flag should never be worn, especially by an elected official. Don't split hairs on this w/ excuses about flags vs. bandanas.It dishonors our fellow Michiganders.It dishonors the battle flags in our rotunda.It dishonors our state.https://t.co/7m4S0wUNaA— Jeff Irwin (@JeffMIrwin) April 24, 2020
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