A Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma on Wednesday dropped an anti-Semitic slur during debate over a bill and then casually apologized by praising the business acumen of Jewish people.
Speaking in favor of legislation that would repeal Oklahoma's 70-year-old law that prohibits retailers from selling goods for less than 6 percent above cost, state Rep. Dennis Johnson (R), the co-majority leader of the state House of Representatives and a small business owner, said that some customers "might try to Jew me down on a price."
Shortly after invoking the derogatory phrase, Johnson appeared to be notified by someone off camera that what he said was offensive.
"I apologize to the Jews," Johnson said, drawing laughter from the chamber. "They're good small businessmen as well."
A spokesman for state Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon (R) defended Johnson, telling the Tulsa World that the "chamber accepted his apology and has moved on." As the Tulsa World noted, there are no Jewish members of the Oklahoma legislature.