At a news conference Wednesday the septuagenarian explained how his father employed immigrants on the family farm in Central California.
“My father used to have a ranch. We used to hire 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine,” Young said while explaining immigration reform.
At about noon Friday, Young issued a statement apologizing, saying he meant no malice, did not want to offend, and his language should have been left in the 20th century.
A whole host of Republicans called on Young to apologize, including Senator John McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a fellow Republican, took to Facebook to call his comments offensive.
The slur comes just weeks after the GOP analyzed its 2012 election losses. Among the findings: The party needs to embrace comprehensive immigration reform to stay relevant in a demographically changing America.
Some Republicans said comments like Young’s aren’t helping what the GOP is branding its Growth and Opportunity Project.