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Lawmaker Apologizes for Mask's 'Choice of Pattern'

It resembled Confederate flag, but Michigan state senator says that's not what it was
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2020 3:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – People worldwide are wearing face masks to protect themselves, but not many are apologizing for the ones they're wearing. WDIV reports on one person who's had to: Dale Zorn, a Michigan state senator who issued a mea culpa after he was recorded Friday during a Senate vote sporting a face mask that resembled the Confederate flag. After the ensuing hubbub, Zorn said he was sorry for his "choice of pattern" in a two-part tweet, noting that "those who know me best know that I do not support the things this pattern represents." He added: "My actions were an error in judgment for which there are no excuses and I will learn from this episode." Zorn says his wife made the mask and told him it was meant to look like the flag of either Tennessee or Kentucky, though the New York Times notes it more closely resembled the Confederate flag.

But a conversation with WLSN on Friday, after the vote, casts doubt on the idea that Zorn never thought his mask might cause controversy. "I told my wife it probably will raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag," he told the outlet. He added: "Even if it was a Confederate flag ... we should be talking about teaching our national history in schools, and that's part of our national history." BuzzFeed notes the mask has led to calls for the Republican lawmaker's resignation from Michigan residents online, and some lawmakers across the aisle also took aim. Democratic State Sen. Minority Leader Jim Ananich says the mask left him almost speechless. "I'm just really disappointed to see him make a choice that is deeply hurtful to so many people," he posted. "When he was called out for it, he didn't seem to even understand or acknowledge what the problem was." (Read more face masks stories.)

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