When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.
“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”
There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.
Ben Amey, a reporter for WNYT, caught their mistake:
Kaine’s son, 1st Lt. Nathaniel Kaine, is an infantry officer serving with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, who deployed to Eastern Europe shortly after his father was named Hillary Clinton’s running mate.
In his first public speech after being named her vice presidential candidate, Kaine had referenced his pride for his son and the impending deployment.
“He is a proud Marine, and in just a few days he’s deploying to Europe to uphold America’s commitment to our NATO allies,” Kaine said in the speech. “For me, this drives home the stakes in this election.”
The person behind the Twitter account thanked Amey for alerting them to the mistake in a reply after deleting the tweet, but did not apologize for the error.
The head of the North Carolina GOP, Dallas Woodhouse, tweeted late Thursday morning with a general apology and said “corrective action” had been taken. He released a fuller statement Thursday afternoon offering “our sincere and unqualified apology” to Kaine, his family and his son abroad.
“The tweet was wrong on the facts, wrong in tone and should not have happened,” Woodhouse wrote. “The members of the staff that were invoked are facing severe internal sanctions and mandatory retraining.”