House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) offered a sharply worded reprimand for Rep. Don Young on Friday, demanding the Alaska congressman apologize for using a racial epithet to characterize migrant workers.
“Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said in a statement. “I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”
Young gave an interview to a local radio station on Thursday where he reminisced about “wetbacks” working on his father’s ranch in California. “My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine,” Young said on KRBD.
He later said he did not mean to offend.
“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young said. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”