The new congressman for America's only majority-Asian congressional district has apologized for saying he is "an Asian trapped in a white man's body." National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu tweeted Wednesday that Ed Case, a Democrat elected in November to represent Hawaii's 1st congressional district, made the remark at an event in Washington, DC, celebrating Asian-American and Pacific Islander members of Congress, Hawaii News Now reports. The backlash was swift, with some critics likening Case to white actresses cast in the roles of Asian characters. One Twitter user quipped: "Alexa, what’s the worst possible thing Ed Case could say?"
Case apologized for the remark, but said he was "fiercely proud" to represent such a diverse state. "Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures,” Case in a statement to the Washington Post. "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 added that he regrets if his remarks "to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense." A Case spokesman said the lawmaker was commenting "on what his Japanese-American wife sometimes says about him." (Read more Hawaii stories.)