HOUSTON, (UPI) — Ex-U.S. President George H.W. Bush’s spokesman in Houston apologized for sending premature condolences on the death of Nelson Mandela.
Mandela was discharged from a South African hospital.
Jim McGrath said on Twitter the statement he sent resulted from misreading a headline about the former South African president on a news bulletin from The Washington Post, CNN reported Sunday.
The news alert sent by the Post had the headline: “Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital; condition still critical.”
“Stupid mistake by me. Apologies to all,” McGrath posted, stressing he made the mistake, not the Bushes.
McGrath sent a statement “on the death of Nelson Mandela” about four hours after the Post sent the alert.
The email’s first sentence read, “Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know,” CNN reported.
McGrath at first defended the statement, telling CNN in a statement, “We have no independent verification of events in South Africa.”
But later he admitted he misread the report and sent the condolences. McGrath told the Post he misread the word “discharge.”
“I apologize, because I know a put a lot of people into a modestly stressful position, which is never my intent for my friends in the media,” McGrath said “So I’m sorry about that. A massive egg on my face, I’m so sorry.”
Mandela, 95, was released from a Pretoria hospital Sunday but was still critically ill, a government statement said. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been hospitalized since June 8 with a lung infection and other complications.