Arizona City Councilman Apologizes After Saying 'I Can't Breathe' at Anti-Mask Rally

Illustration for article titled Arizona City Councilman Apologizes After Saying 'I Can't Breathe' at Anti-Mask Rally
Screenshot: 12 News

To live in Arizona is to perpetually exist in one long, heavy sigh. If it’s not being embarrassed by the actions of your fellow citizens, you can be damn sure the elected officials will do something that is just inhumanly trash.


Take for instance Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips who, CNN reports, mockingly said “I can’t breathe,” while at an anti-mask protest on Wednesday.

I’ll give you a minute to process the sheer amount of bullshit in that sentence.

You good? Alright.

Phillips organized the protest in response to an order issued that requires face masks to be worn while out in public. Phillips took the mic and said “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” sarcastically. He then removed the mask, rolled his eyes and said “Insanity,” to which the crowd erupted in applause. “I can’t breathe,” were the last words of George Floyd and Eric Garner. The words have since become a rallying cry in the protests that have ensued against police brutality and systemic racism.

Phillips was quickly called out by members of his own party. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) tweeted, “Despicable doesn’t go far enough. The final words of George Floyd should NEVER be invoked like this. Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office. Period.” Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R) also issued a response on Twitter. “It’s disgusting you are mocking the dying words of a murdered man.” McSally said.

Phillips issued a statement to the Arizona Republic, initially denying any connection between his comments and George Floyd’s death. Eventually, he issued an apology to 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 can’t breathe in a mask. Please accept my sincerest apology and that goes out to anyone who became offended.” Phillips said.

There are just levels of awfulness here. After seeing a video of a man dying and pleading that he can’t breathe as well as the prolonged protests and outrage that have occurred in the wake of that man’s death, why the hell would you think using those words in a mocking manner was an OK thing to do? In addition to that, Arizona is currently experiencing a consistent uptick in COVID-19 cases, with thousands of new cases being reported daily. It’s been proven that masks help mitigate the spread of the virus. This man organized a rally and put lives in danger over a minor, minor inconvenience that can help save lives.


Guy Phillips is, in a word, trash.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.


White people, come collect your man.
He’s out here fighting - for the right - to breathe in a virus.