After a week of scrutiny and criticism, a Democratic congressman said he was not racist.
Tim Walz, a Michigan Democrat, said on Thursday he was “not a racist” when asked if he was racist after it was revealed that he referred to African-Americans in a tweet as “cunt,” which is a racial slur.
Walz said he “didn’t intend to hurt anyone, and I’m sorry if it offended anyone.”
“I was just trying to show that it wasn’t the case that the word ‘cunt’ is offensive,” he said.
Walsz, who was reelected to Congress last year after winning the seat vacated by Rep. Joaquin Castro, also said he does not see himself as a racist.
“I’m not a racist, and we’ve got to get past this kind of thing,” Walz said in a statement on Thursday.
Walers said he is “not trying to offend anybody” and that he was trying to be “inclusive” when discussing race.
Walons office said he had apologized for his tweet, but he did not say why.
Walks tweet sparked a backlash, including a letter from the NAACP calling him out for his racist rhetoric.
“His comments are offensive to many people, and to the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and all Americans who have a fundamental right to peacefully assemble,” the letter reads.
“His comments were insensitive and insensitive to people of color.
The comments are particularly reprehensible and must be condemned.”
Walks spokeswoman Nicole Sisco said he apologized for the tweet and that it was “inappropriate.”
“We want to reiterate that Tim Walks comments are not representative of our organization or the views of our employees,” Sisco told CNN.
Walts office said the tweet was not about race.
“Tim Walks tweets are meant to be a thoughtful and respectful way to think about race, gender, and other diverse issues, but it’s important to understand that his words were taken out of context and that they do not reflect the views and opinions of the organization,” Sisco said in the statement.
The statement also said Walz is not a “white supremacist,” but that he views race as a “systemic issue” that needs to be addressed.
“He believes that the system of white supremacy is in place and we have to change it,” Sisso said.
The House Ethics Committee is currently reviewing the tweets, but Sisco noted that the Ethics Committee has no power to prosecute the lawmaker.
Walions office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Walters was re-elected to the House in 2014, beating out his Democratic challenger by less than two percentage points.