A petition on Change.org has collected more than 700 signatures from people calling for the immediate resignation of Sen. Dale Zorn following his decision to wear a confederate-style mask on the senate floor Friday.
Sen. Zorn initially told 6 News the face covering was not a Confederate flag and was more similar to the state flags of Kentucky or Tennessee.
“I told my wife it probably will raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag,” Zorn said.
However, over the weekend the senator changed his tune and said sorry via Twitter.
Today Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said Zorn’s apology isn’t enough.
“It’s woefully insufficient and the truth is the right way to apologize is to work to put in place policies and systems that will help deal with the disparity impact not just of COVID-19 pandemic but also the health disparities overall,” Gilchrist said.
The controversy has made national headlines, and Sen. Curtis Hertel says it makes Michigan look bad.
“It’s honestly one of the most embarrasing and dissapointing days that I’ve seen in my time in politics,” Sen. Hertel said.
Lt. Gov Gilchrist said Sen. Zorn’s decision highlights long-lasting disparities.
“What contributes to someone making a choice like that is exactly the reasons why we have disparities when it comes to the racial and ethnic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the state of Michigan,” he said.
The state has created a task force do help communities of color, as they continue to face disproportionate impacts of COVID-19.
“Beyond the bigotry represented by that symbol, are the disparities that have been evident in this pandemic… so we’re trying to do the important work in our administration in responding to those disparities,” Gilchrist said.