A white member of Congress said Wednesday that he regrets offending Asian people after he reportedly said he is an “Asian trapped in a white body.”
Democratic Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii made the comment to a crowd Tuesday at an event for Asian and Pacific Islander American members of the new Congress, according to a tweet posted by National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu.
“I regret if my specific remarks to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense,” Case said in a statement issued Wednesday.
His office added that Case’s comment was in reference to what his Japanese-American wife sometimes says about him.
“I am fiercely proud of representing the state with the highest percentage of many ethnic groups in our country including Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), a state where no ethnic group has been in the majority for generations,” Case said in his statement.
“Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures,” Case added. “They and not my specific ethnicity, are who I am, and I believe that this makes me an effective advocate on national issues affecting our API community.”
His statement also noted that he’s a returning committee member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
CNN has reached out to Case’s spokesperson.