Hawaii Democratic Rep. Ed Case apologized on Wednesday for saying that he felt like “an Asian trapped in a white body,”and his spokesman claimed he was merely referring to what his Japanese-American wife "sometimes says about him."
Case made the comment Tuesday night at a Washington reception billed as a “celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) members of the 116th Congress,” according to a social media post by National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu.
The mostly Asian 1st Congressional District Case represents encompasses Honolulu and parts of Oahu.
In an email to The Washington Post, Case asserted that he was "fiercely proud" and only meant to emphasize his heritage.
“Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures,” Case said. “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."
He continued: “I regret if my specific remarks to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense.”
Nestor Garcia, a spokesman for Case, told The Post that the representative was essentially conveying "what his Japanese-American wife sometimes says about him.”
Case was elected to the House for the first time in 2002, leaving in 2007 after a failed Senate bid.
Local media reported that Case had decided to end his political career in 2013, citing an email in which he said he "likely" would not return to elected office and would instead take a job at Outrigger Enterprises Group.
He beat out a slew of Democrats to win the 1st District seat and return to the House this year.