State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, issued an apology Thursday after wearing a yellow Star of David during a speech critical of vaccines at a recent event in Thurston County.
"I apologize for using a profound image in a way that was inappropriate and offensive to so many people,” he said in a prepared statement. “It was wrong. It won't happen ever again."
According to a report by The Seattle Times, the 19th Legislative District Republican had the star affixed to his shirt during a speech to conservative activists at a Lacey church on Saturday.
"It's an echo from history," Walsh wrote on a Facebook page where a video of the event was posted. "In the current context, we are all Jews."
The yellow Star of David is a symbol the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.
According to The Seattle Times, Walsh said he had been given the star by someone at the event, where most attendees were wearing one. He described some of the organizers as "deeply concerned about vaccine passports and vaccine segregation."
Prior to his apology on Thursday, Walsh was critical of The Seattle Times reporting.
“Orwellian,” he wrote on Facebook, attaching a link to the initial story. “Hyper partisans are trying to make a sign of solidarity into … something bad. The reporter from The Seattle Times admitted to me on the phone that the origin of his reporting was a partisan hit piece of some sort that he'd received. Read the resulting article and judge for yourself how much that comes through.”