The City of Orlando, Fla., apologized on Saturday for its Independence Day message that declared the nation was in “strife” and questioned why people would want to celebrate the holiday in the city’s weekly newsletter.
“A lot of people probably don’t want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can’t blame them,” the Friday edition of Orlando’s “City News” read. “When there is so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?”
The city apologized the next day, saying it “sincerely regrets” the message’s “negative impact.”
“We understand these words offended some of our residents, which was not our intent,” the city wrote in its apology. “We value the freedoms we have in this country and are thankful to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for those. We take pride in celebrating the 4th of July to express our gratitude to those men and women and honor the country we live in.”
The statement had sparked widespread criticism online, with many calling the city’s newsletter “un-American.” The message also caught the attention of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) office.
“Oh, here we go,” Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’s spokeswoman, tweeted on Sunday.
“The City of Orlando apologizes if you were offended by their attack on 4th of July,” she wrote. “This is what happens when you elect Democrats, you guys… they do not have the same view of America as we do.”
Despite the backlash, some have cheered the city’s July 4 message.
“Y’all do not need to apologize — your first email captured the tone of how many Americans (and Orlandoans) are feeling right now,” Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D), who represents parts of Orlando, tweeted on Saturday. “It’s ok not to be ok.”