Republicans Who Have Condemned Don Young For Saying ‘Wetbacks’


Rep. Don Young’s (R-AK) casual characterization of migrant workers as “wetbacks” came at a time when the Republican Party is trying desperately to improve its beleaguered image among minority communities, prompting a number of individuals on the right to condemn the longtime Alaska congressman. 

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) got things started on Friday morning, issuing a statement defending migrant workers and saying that Young’s remarks “do nothing to elevate our party, political discourse or the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) followed suit, calling on Young to apologize immediately. “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said in a statement.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, still busy promoting the GOP’s newfound outreach to Latino voters, said that Young’s remarks “emphatically do not represent the beliefs” of the party. 

Hours after Cornyn’s statement surfaced, perhaps the most notable border state lawmawker weighed in with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) taking to Twitter to call on Young to “apologize immediately.”

Before McCain spoke out, a pair of his former consultants also used Twitter to criticize Young.

Joining the GOP consultant pile on was former Rick Perry adviser Sean Davis, who disparaged Young as a “detestable crook.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) released a statement saying “there is no excuse” for Young’s rhetoric.


This post has been updated.


Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at