Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz is walking back his comments slamming Simone Biles as a “national embarrassment,” admitting he wasn’t “adequately versed” on the subject before weighing in.
Reitz, in a tweet he has since deleted, slammed the gymnast as a “selfish, childish national embarrassment” after she withdrew from team competition at the Olympics to take care of her mental health, CBS News reports. But he soon walked that statement back, in a follow-up tweet saying he owes her a “big” apology.
In a moment of frustration and disappointment, I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed,” Reitz wrote. “That was an error. I can’t imagine what Simone Biles has gone through.”
Biles this week withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team final, as well as the final individual all-around competition, at the Olympics over mental health concerns. “We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” she said.
Reitz in his apology said that Biles is, in fact, “a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time,” adding, “I apologize to her, and wish her well.” The Texas deputy attorney general faced backlash for the original tweet, including from his boss, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, The Washington Post notes. Paxton praised Biles as a “fantastic athlete but an even better person” in a tweet, which also said, “Today I learned about a very inappropriate and insensitive tweet by one of our employees. This will be handled internally.” Reitz in his apology noted that his “personal social media comments do not represent” the Texas attorney general.