Texas' deputy attorney general apologized Wednesday after receiving backlash for tweeting that Simone Biles was a "national embarrassment" when she withdrew from the team gymnastics final.
Aaron Reitz on Tuesday tweeted a video of the gymnast Kerri Strug, who competed with an injured ankle to help Team USA win gold in 1996, writing, "Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles."
Biles, 24, who is from Houston, has mostly received overwhelming support after she pulled out of the team final and then decided not to compete in the women's individual all-around gymnastics final in an effort to focus on her mental health.
Strug on Tuesday tweeted: "Sending love to you @Simone_Biles -Team UNITED States of America."
Biles' teammates and other former Olympic greats have also lauded her decision.
Meanwhile, Reitz's tweet sparked outrage, and he eventually deleted it.
On Wednesday, he posted an apology on Twitter.
"My personal social media comments do not represent Attorney General Paxton or the office of the attorney general," the Republican began. "In a moment of frustration and disappointment, I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed. That was an error. I can't imagine what Simone Biles has gone through."
"Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. I apologize to her and wish her well," he wrote.
Biles has been cheering on her teammates from the sidelines, writing in an Instagram post that they "stepped up when I couldn't."
She will “continue to be evaluated daily” to determine whether or not she should participate in next week’s individual event finals, USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
Biles said on Twitter that “the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”