Responding to President Joe Biden's recent pick for his administration's assistant secretary of health, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jeff Pyle (R) posted a transphobic meme, mocking Rachel Levine, the former Pennsylvania health secretary who is a trans woman.
The backlash against Pyle was swift, prompting him to issue an apology saying he "had no idea" the post mocking Levine "would be … received as poorly as it was", adding that "tens of thousands of heated emails assured me it was."
"I owe an apology and I offer it humbly," Pyle said without specifically apologizing to Levine.
"I've learned I erred and apologize to all affected," Pyle wrote. "It won't happen again."
After deleting the initial post, Pyle deleted his entire Facebook page. According to Philly Voice, the meme shared by Pyle included a picture of Levine with the caption, "American citizens express optimism and renewed hope as Benjamin Franklin joins Joe Biden's cabinet."
When the post was live, followers of Pyle's Facebook page called on him to resign, but he said he would not resign and instead would focus on both a community college project and rebuilding the state's COVID-wracked economy.
In a post to Twitter, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims called on House Republican leadership to condemn Pyle's "discriminatory and dangerous behavior."