Texas' deputy attorney general has apologized for a since-deleted tweet in which he called U.S. gymnast Simone Biles "childish" and a "national embarrassment."
Texas Deputy AG Aaron Reitz issued his apology on Wednesday night, saying that he criticized Biles "in a moment of frustration and disappointment."
"I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed. That was an error. I can't imagine what Simone Biles has gone through," Reitz tweeted. "Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time. I apologize to her, and wish her well."
Reitz's comments come after Biles withdrew from the women's gymnastics team competition after experiencing an issue during a vault attempt. The U.S. women could not hold on to first place without Biles, but they did earn a silver medal.
Biles later withdrew from the individual all-around competition, citing a need to focus on her mental health.
I owe @Simone_Biles an apology. A big one. My statement: pic.twitter.com/SZI8YRI3WO— Aaron Reitz (@aaron_reitz) July 28, 2021
According to KHOU-TV in Houston and the Laredo Morning Times, Retiz on Tuesday quote-tweeted the famous clip from the 1996 Olympics that showed gymnast Kerri Strug battling through a leg injury to complete a vault, helping propel the U.S. team to a gold medal.
"Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles," Reitz said.
Reitz kept his tweet up for about 24 hours — that is, until Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told the Dallas Morning News that he thought Reitz's tweet was "insensitive." Reitz later deleted his criticism of Biles and issued his apology.
Reitz isn't the only public figure to compare Biles' decision to withdraw to Strug's 1996 performance. For her part, Strug has already tweeted support for Biles.
Sending love to you @Simone_Biles 🐐❤️-Team UNITED States of America 🇺🇸— Kerri Strug (@kerristrug96) July 27, 2021