Lyman holds DEI responsible for Baltimore bridge collapse, although he confesses not authoring controversial social media message

The photograph captures Rep. Phil Lyman, a Republican from Blanding, on the opening day of the legislative session at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. The image, taken by Spenser Heaps for Utah News Dispatch, offers a glimpse into the start of the session and Rep. Lyman’s presence in the political arena.

Utah Republican Phil Lyman, who is an outgoing state representative and currently running for governor, expressed his belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs played a role in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday.

“This is the outcome when Governors prioritize diversity over the safety and welfare of their citizens,” states a post on Lyman’s account, accompanied by images of Karenthia Barber and Sandy Roberts, both Maryland Port Commissioners and individuals of Black ethnicity.

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Several prominent individuals from Utah, including House Minority Leader Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Midvale, expressed their disagreement with Lyman’s post. They accused him of demonizing immigrants.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge suffered a collapse around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday following a collision with a container ship that had lost power. As of Thursday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard has stated that six individuals are still missing and presumed deceased.

Biden pledges federal dollars for ‘entire cost’ to rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge

Utah’s fiercely pro-Trump lawmaker, Lyman, has been increasingly vocal on social media since declaring his candidacy for governor. He accuses Gov. Spencer Cox of endorsing liberal policies and transforming Utah into a “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants.

On Tuesday, he openly acknowledged that his social media posts are mostly written by his staff, which has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

“I see some things, but there are also things that I don’t see,” he shared with Utah News Dispatch. This includes the recent post that blamed the Maryland Port Commission and DEI initiatives.”

Lyman expressed his surprise at the one this morning, stating, “Yeah, it took me a little bit by surprise.”

Lyman remained steadfast in his stance, asserting that he had no intention of issuing an apology or removing the post.

“I’m not sharing her profile simply because she’s a Black woman; I’m sharing it because she has expertise in DEI auditing,” he explained. He was referring to Barber’s professional background in providing leadership and workforce training, coaching, as well as conducting diversity, equity, and inclusion audits and consultations.”

Lyman emphasized that correlation does not imply causation, clarifying that he did not attribute the bridge collapse to the DEI initiative. Rather, he pointed out that instances of DEI initiatives coinciding with human failures can lead to such disasters.

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