Updated Mar 27, 2024 - News

Utah lawmaker blames DEI for Baltimore bridge collapse despite cargo ship collision

A close up shows stacks of containers toppled on the cargo ship's deck after the bridge crashed down following the collision. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A close-up shows stacks of containers toppled on the cargo ship's deck after the bridge crashed following the collision. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman blamed diversity, equity and inclusion for the catastrophic collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore.

Officials say a cargo ship caused the collapse when it struck a bridge support in the Patapsco River.

Driving the news: Lyman (R-Blanding) drew criticism Tuesday when he shared a post on X from the "Young Conservative Federation," noting that Baltimore Port Commissioner Karenthia Barber has a background in "diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging."

  • "This is what happens when you have governors who prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of citizens," wrote Lyman, who is running for Utah governor.

Between the lines: He later told the Salt Lake Tribune his social media team created the post, but he neither retracted nor disputed it — or his other posts Tuesday that characterized DEI as deadly.

The big picture: The bridge collapse is just the latest in a string of problems right wing activists have blamed on "DEI" programs.

The other side: "Calling any and all failures of governments, institutions, engineering, or businesses the sole fault of 'DEI initiatives' ... has become coded for 'they put black people in charge instead of white people,'" posted Wall Street trader and podcaster Ben Cahn.

Worth your time: Axios' Zachary Basu and Sara Fischer break down how X became a hotbed of misinformation about the bridge collapse.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to included Lyman's comments to the Salt Lake Tribune.

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