A Republican politician appeared to mock George Floyd's death while speaking at a rally against the compulsory wearing of face masks.

Guy Phillips, councilman for Scottsdale, Arizona, said "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" while wearing a mask, before taking it off to cheers from protesters.

Last week Scottsdale mayor Jim Lane announced that all residents must wear face coverings in public.

Phillip responded by organising the 'Unmask Us' protest, which around 200 people are believed to have attended.

Lane condemned Phillip's remarks, calling them "callous and insensitive". In a statement posted online, he said:

Councilman Phillips' comments at his anti-mask protest rally today at City Hall do not represent the values of our Scottsdale community. I share the profound disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose. I sincerely hope he understands how wrong that was and offers a sincere apology.

But Phillips responded by claiming that his remarks were unconnected to police violence.

The mask was "hot and stuffy" he said.

I did not mean any disrespect and there was no connection

As backlash grew, he responded with a fuller apology directed towards George Floyd's 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.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill was amongst those who expressed their disgust at Phillips's speech.

Some Scottsdale residents are calling for Phillips's resignation.

In March, Phillips posted on his Facebook page "COVID literally stands for 'Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease' and the number 19 is due to this being the 19th virus to come out of China."

He was again forced to apologise, saying he had been "made aware" of his ignorance.

Covid stands for Coronavirus Disease and the 19 refers to the fact it was discovered in 2019, something that Republican politicians seem to be finding difficult to grasp.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)