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Rep. Peter King is catching heat for using an ethnic slur to describe the Japanese during an interview on MSNBC Friday morning and then refusing to apologize for it.
King’s Democratic opponent, Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), on Monday demanded that King say he’s sorry to Japanese-Americans and suspend his support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“King defends his use of a racial slur, tossing it off as a mere satire used to critique Trump’s incoherent national security stance, yet he stands by his endorsement,” said Gregory in an email.
King rejected Gregory’s demand.
King said the comment he made on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday was “satirical, ironic and sarcastic, a rhetorical device against nativism and anti-Japanese sentiment.”
He said, “My comment on ‘Morning Joe’ was in defense of the Japanese.”
King added that he has endorsed and will vote for his party’s nominee in party, but said he will publicly raise questions to push Trump to develop a coherent foreign and national security policy.
King noted that the campaign for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton sent out an email citing him as a foreign policy expert questioning Trump’s foreign policy.
“No matter what happens,” King said, “I want to have some role in formulating policy.”
King made his controversial comment as he tried to explain on the show some of the problems he has with Trump’s foreign policy views.
“National defense and homeland security are issues that mean the most to me and there’s real issues with him, real problems with his views,” King said during the interview.
“I don’t know if he’s thought them through or it’s just like the guy at the end of the bar that says, ‘Oh, screw them, bomb them, kill them, pull out, bring them home. You know, why pay for the Japs, why pay for the Koreans?’ ” King said.
“Mr. King knows his words have an impact. Using the J-word is disgusting and hearkens back to a shameful time in our history, when violence, xenophobia, and the internment of Japanese-Americans were everyday phenomena,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian caucus, said in a statement to The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper.
King responded, saying “I stand by the merits of what I said. I was quoting the guy at the end of the bar who needlessly offends, who makes snaps decisions and doesn’t care.”
King, who celebrates his Irish heritage, added, “I was using it to make a point, and I would make it again. If someone wants to say, ‘The mick at the end of the bar,’ I wouldn’t be offended by it.”
King’s comments on MSNBC can be found here.