Asian chamber member: Why would Reid apologize?

An executive member of the Asian chamber of commerce, which hosted a luncheon where Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) spoke Thursday wondered why the Senate Majority Leader apologized for his Asian-themed jokes.

"Why would he apologize?" asked James Yu, a board member of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce who was surprised Reid's remarks made headlines. 

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Yu, a Korean immigrant and former president of the chamber who has been involved since its founding in 1995, said he actually agreed with Reid's comment that Asians aren't "smarter than anybody else."

"The reason that we give that appearance is that a lot of Asians work so hard," said Yu, an accountant in Las Vegas who shows up to work every day at 5:30 a.m.

Reid has attended chamber events every year they have asked him, Yu said, noting the senior senator from Nevada is "very popular" in the local Asian community.

"This time is nothing different," Yu said, adding, "We have always considered him a friend."

Video of Reid's remarks at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, including him saying that "one problem I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight," was recorded and posted online Friday by the Republican opposition research group America Rising. 

After the video surfaced, Reid issued an apology.

"My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize. Sometimes I say the wrong thing,” he said in a statement to The Hill.

After Reid spoke at the chamber, the group endorsed Republican Mark Hutchison for lieutenant governor over Democrat Lucy Flores, Reid's choice, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.