Rep. Phil Lyman defends post correlating DEI policies with Baltimore bridge collapse

Mar 28, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: 9:17 am

Rep Phil Lyman shown, lyman dei comments came under scrutiny...

Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, speaks during the Utah Eagle Forum's annual conference at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding is defending a post made Tuesday, that said Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies had something to do with the Baltimore bridge collapse. 

He said his post was making a correlation between the two, not necessarily a “causation.” 

Soon after the bridge collapsed, Lyman took to X to reshare a post from an account called the Young Conservative Federation.

The post claimed that commissioners for the port of Baltimore were merely hired based on diversity requirements.

His repost added the following statement: “This is what happens when you have Governors who prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of citizens.”

He further went on to post “DEI = DIE.” 


The post drew correlation, not causation

Lyman told KSL NewsRadio that he still stands for this idea, despite the controversy it has caused. 

“There’s a lot of criticism, and X is the wild west out there,” Lyman said.

He said he takes responsibility for his account, “Phil Lyman for Governor.” But, he said he did have someone from his team put that on social media. 

“I have a person on my staff who’s from Baltimore. That was kind of his take right off the bat,” he said. 

Ultimately, Lyman said the post was making a correlation between DEI policies and the incident. 

“You know, are we prioritizing the well-being and security of citizens, or are we prioritizing diversity?” he asked. “The correlation is simply that [Baltimore has] a robust DEI program that oversees the port, that oversees the bridge, and they had a catastrophe that was either intentional or unintentional.”

He said if anything, his post should let people know that his gubernatorial campaign doesn’t support DEI at all. 

“We’re not proponents of DEI, we’re not proponents of hiring people based on DEI, or implementing DEI in Utah at our universities, at our schools,” Lyman said. “When those types of things influence policy, often the outcomes are not what we would have hoped. This was a bad outcome. DEI was a high priority for this county and this port, and that’s the only correlation.”

Related: Fathers, entrepreneurs among presumed dead after Baltimore bridge collapse

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Rep. Phil Lyman defends post correlating DEI policies with Baltimore bridge collapse