Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz (R) deleted a tweet calling gymnast Simone Biles a “national embarrassment” and issued an apology to the Olympian after the state’s attorney general came to her defense and criticized “a very inappropriate” tweet made by one of the office’s employees.
In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Reitz said he owed Biles, who grew up in Texas, “an apology.” “A big one,” he added, while also attaching a statement saying his personal social media comments “do not represent Attorney General Paxton or the Office of the Attorney General.”
“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 said in the statement.
“Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time. I apologize to her, and wish her well,” he added.
Reitz in a since-delete tweet earlier this week criticized Biles, calling her “childish” and “selfish” after the athlete withdrew from the U.S. women's Olympic team final and later the individual all-around competition.
USA Gymnastics said Biles, who is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, decided to withdraw from the competition “in order to focus on her mental health” after “further medical evaluation.”
While referencing a tweet from a conservative showing gymnast Kerri Strug help secure a gold medal for the U.S. in the 1996 Olympics after injuring her ankle, Reitz also tweeted, “Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles.”
Later on Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) came out in defense of Biles on Twitter while also vowing to internally handle an incident involving an employee who recently made a “insensitive tweet.”
“Today I learned about a very inappropriate and insensitive tweet by one of our employees. This will be handled internally,” Paxton said in the tweet, which also include a photo of his statement defending Biles after the criticism.
“I know Simone Biles — she is a fantastic athlete but an even better person,” Paxton said. “Mental health is far more important than any athletic competition and I fully support her decision.”
Today I learned about a very inappropriate and insensitive tweet by one of our employees.— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) July 28, 2021
This will be handled internally. pic.twitter.com/xln30VxVFl