NCGOP issues apology after tweet calling Tim Kaine's military service pin 'shameful'

NCGOP issues apology after tweet calling Tim Kaine's military service pin 'shameful'

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - The North Carolina Republican Party has issued an apology after a tweet was sent from the organization's account Wednesday night criticizing Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for wearing a pin honoring his son's military service.

The tweet posted during Kaine's Democratic National Convention speech Wednesday night said Kaine "wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag. Shameful."

The tweet was later deleted, but screenshot of the tweet have gone viral online.

The pin in question has a single blue star against a white background outlined in red. It's the same design as the Service Flag, which is reserved for families who have members serving in the military during wartime.

The flag of Honduras has five stars against a blue and white striped background.

Kaine's son is a Marine set to be deployed to Europe.

When Albany, NY reporter Ben Amey tweeted the screenshot and the correction on the type of pin Kaine was wearing, the NCGOP account tweeted him back, saying "we appreciate you letting us know. Thanks for letting us correct our mistake."

NCGOP's Executive Director, Dallas Woodhouse, says the tweet was sent, in error, by a junior staffer.

"It was instantly corrected," Woodhouse told WBTV. "We regret the error."

North Carolina's Democratic Party spokesman Dave Miranda says the GOP "mocked" Kaine and then "refused to apologize."

"This is a perfect illustration of Donald Trump's Republican Party: dangerously uninformed and only interested in tearing down their fellow Americans. Last night, the North Carolina Republican Party disgraced themselves and once again embarrassed North Carolina – the most military-friendly state in the nation," Miranda said. "The leaders of the NCGOP should apologize to all of our service members and veterans for denigrating their service."

Thursday afternoon, Woodhouse expanded on the NCGOP's stance on the tweet, offering an official apology to Kaine and his family.

"As the Executive Director of the North Carolina Republican Party, we offer our sincere and unqualified apology for the mistake made on Twitter last night regarding Gov. Kaine's lapel pin. The tweet was wrong on the facts, wrong in tone and should not have happened." Woodhouse said. "We would like to offer a sincere apology to Senator Tim Kaine, his family, and his Marine son who is honorably serving overseas."

"The members of the staff that were invoked (sic) are facing severe internal sanctions and mandatory retraining," Woodhouse continued. "When we learned of our mistake, we immediately took steps to rectify it. There are now procedural measures in place to make sure it does not happen again."

Woodhouse took responsibility for the tweet in his statement.

"While I did not see or authorize the tweet, as the Director of our organization I take full responsibility for our carelessness," he wrote. "Again, we are incredibly thankful for the service of Sen. Kaine's son, and all United States military, past and present, who fight for our freedom. We demand accountability from our elected officials and our government. Those standards apply do (sic) and should apply to us as well."

Copyright 2016 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.