Guy Phillips, a city councilman in Scottsdale, Arizona, has apologized after yelling “I can’t breathe” before removing his face covering during his speech at an anti-mask rally on Wednesday.
Phillips helped organize the protest, called “Unmask Us,” after Mayor Jim Lane ordered residents to wear face coverings in public amid rising coronavirus rates.
The Arizona Republic reports: Phillips addressed the 200 or so people by pulling off his mask and saying, “I can’t breathe,” the words spoken by George Floyd before he died last month at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked protests around the country. … Not long after, in a text to The Arizona Republic, Phillips said the comment had no connection to Floyd. He said his remarks referred solely to the mask. “It was hot and stuffy,” Phillips said. “I did not mean any disrespect and there was no connection,” he said. A couple of hours later he issued an apology to the Floyd family. “I am sorry about a comment I made today that was the same comment Mr. Floyd had made. He didn’t deserve what happened to him and I by no means was trying to make light of it by saying I cant breathe in a mask. Please accept my sincerest apology and that goes out to anyone who became offended.”
Back in March, Phillips similarly apologized after sharing a Facebook post saying that COVID-19 stands for “Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease.”
Although his city council seat is nonpartisan, Phillips’ website identifies him as a proud member of the right-wing Heritage Foundation and the National Rifle Association. But even GOP officials in Arizona are now calling for him to resign.
“Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office,” Republican Gov. Doug Ducey wrote Wednesday night on Twitter.