GOP rep refuses to apologize for racial slur

 
Former House Homeland Security Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) is refusing to apologize for using the racial slur "Japs" during an interview on MSNBC on Friday morning, saying people are "too politically correct."
 
In a phone interview Friday, King said he was making a broader point about the divisive state of today's politics. During the call, King repeated the epithet again to a reporter.
 
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"I stand by the merits of what I said. I was quoting the guy at the end of the bar who needlessly offends, who makes snaps decisions and doesn't care, who suddenly says, 'The hell with them, the Japs and Koreans,' " King told The Hill. 
 
"I was using it to make a point, and I would make it again," King continued. "If someone wants to say, 'The mick at the end of the bar,’ I wouldn't be offended by it."
 
King's paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants.
 
When told that the term is highly offensive to the Japanese and Asian-American community, King replied: “We’re getting too politically correct. Let's not get overly sensitive here.”
 
Both the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group that has feuded for years with King, called on the congressman to apologize for using the derogatory term.
 
“Mr. King knows his words have an impact. Using the J word is disgusting and harkens back to a shameful time in our history when violence, xenophobia, and the internment of Japanese Americans were everyday phenomena,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Asian caucus, said in a statement to The Hill. 
 
“These words are not only offensive, but they also isolate and divide us as a nation. Mr. King should leave this racist terms back in the last century and apologize to the Japanese American community for his comments.”
 
Footage of King using the term was first flagged by CAIR, whose national executive director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement: "It is unconscionable for a national elected official to use such a derogatory term to describe the Japanese people, or by extension, Japanese Americans. We ask Representative King to apologize and to refrain from further use of derogatory language targeting any national, ethnic or minority group."
 
King said he would “never” apologize to CAIR, which he accused of associating with terrorist organizations. Their disagreement goes back years: In 2011, the then-Homeland Security chairman held a hearing into the “radicalization in the American Muslim community” and targeted CAIR. 
 
King appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Joint Chiefs chairman: 'The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran' Pence: 'We're not convinced' downing of drone was 'authorized at the highest levels' Trump: Bolton would take on the whole world at one time MORE, who descended on Capitol Hill a day earlier. King said he is endorsing Trump, a fellow New Yorker, but won’t campaign for him because of his statement that Japan, Korea and other nations might need to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves.
 
“National defense and homeland security are issues that mean the most to me and there's real issues with him, real problems with his views,” King said on MSNBC.
 
“I don't know if he's thought them through or it's just like the guy at the end of the bar that says, ‘Oh, screw them, bomb them, kill them, pull out, bring them home. You know, why pay for the Japs, why pay for the Koreans?’ ”
 
The term was common in 1941, when Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and during World War II. But it was hurtful to tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans whom the U.S. government had sent to internment camps during the conflict.
 
In 1957, the Japanese American Citizens League, a civil rights group, launched an education campaign to retire the ethnic slur.