Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) offered a formal apology on Friday for his use of a racial slur on Hispanics that drew denunciations from his own party.
"I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska," Young said in a second statement on the controversy. "There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words."
In a local radio interview on Tuesday, Young used the term "wetbacks" to refer to Hispanics who had worked on his father's ranch.
"That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform," Young said Friday.
Young first apologized for the incident on Thursday, but a number of top lawmakers continued to urge Young to issue a strongly worded apology.
Young used the slur while he was discussing immigration reform legislation in an interview with KRDB-FM radio.
"My father had a ranch. We used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," Young said "It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine."
Later on Thursday Young issued an apology saying he meant "no disrespect." But the first apology did not stop lawmakers from criticizing Young or urging him to again express regret.
"Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday. "I don’t care why he said it. There’s no excuse, and it warrants an immediate apology."