Rep. Peter King Friday disputed news reports that he had refused to apologize for allegedly slurring the Japanese during an MSNBC interview, telling Newsmax that "the remark is entirely in the context of saying why I am not campaigning" for Donald Trump.
"The remark is entirely in the context of saying why I am not campaigning for Trump, defending the continued presence of American troops in Japan and Korea and criticizing the candidate who like the 'guy at the end of the bar' is unthinking and mindlessly anti-Japanese," the New York Republican told Newsmax in a statement late Friday. "It is absolute intellectual dishonesty to characterize my comment as anti-Japanese or anti-Asian when I am satirizing and criticizing bias and ignorance."
reported that King had refused to apologize for using the term "Japs" in a "Morning Joe" panel interview with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
King told the panel that he was endorsing Trump but would not stump for him because he disagreed with the presumptive Republican nominee's view that South Korea, Japan and other nations might need to develop nuclear weapons for their own protection.
"I'm not going to be campaigning for him," King said. "I will be campaigning for myself and other Republicans who basically on national defense issues share my belief.
"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.
"I don't know if he's thought them through — or it's just like the guy at the end of the bar who 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 Hill reported that King said in an interview that he would not apologize for using the slur — considered highly offensive to the Japanese and Asian Americans — because "we're getting too politically correct.
"Let's not get overly sensitive here," the Hill reported King as saying.
King reportedly told the Hill that he was making a broader point about how divisive politics have become.
"I was using it to make a point, and I would make it again," King said. "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, according to the Hill.
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