Don Young, a Republican congressman from Alaska, has come under fire since an interview on Thursday in which he used the derogatory term “wetbacks” when speaking about the workers on his father’s ranch. Quick to disavow the remark, House Speaker John Boehner said there is “no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”
Following the backlash, Young did respond and say that he “meant to disrespect.” Noting that he “used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young added that the term “is not used in the same way nowadays.”
“Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds. I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology,” Boehner said in a statement.
“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said in the interview with a local radio station. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”
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