Reid apologizes for jokes at Asian business event

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Reid apologizes for jokes at Asian business event
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Hillary Clinton pulled out a victory over Bernie Sanders in Nevadas Democratic caucuses that will help right her campaign as both candidates head into a 10-day blitz of crucial contests starting next Saturday in South Carolina. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., leans on a stack of documents pertaining to campaign finance reform during a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday, December 3, 1996, where the Democratic leadership for the 105th Congress was announced. The documents represent the hearings and legislation involved in campaign finance reform, which Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle of South Dakota said would be the Democrats top priority in the 105th Congress. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., right, talks to reporters, as actor Mike Farrell, left, looks on, as the men urged rejection of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, in the Capitol, Tuesday, June 4, 2002, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert)
Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid, D-Nev., right, and Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speak to the press following a closed meeting of the Nine Eleven Working Group on Capitol Hill, Monday, Oct. 4, 2004, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., talks about his future role as the 109th Congress' Senate minority leader, during an Associated Press interview in his Capitol office, in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004. Reid succeeds Sen. Tom Daschle, D-SD, who was defeated for re-election on Nov. 2 in South Dakota. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a press conference with first responders at the Capitol on Monday, July 11, 2005 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., listens to witness testimony during the Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 25, 2006 regarding the war in Iraq. Retired military officers on Monday bluntly accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., listens to a reporter's question during a news conference after Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline of Iraq troop withdrawal failed on a vote of 50-48 on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24,2008, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response." (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. listens to questions on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009, after the Senate passed the health care reform bill . (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 01: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks at a get-out-the-vote rally featuring first lady Michelle Obama at Canyon Springs High School November 1, 2010 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Recent polls show Reid, who is seeking his fifth term, four points behind Republican challenger Sharron Angle. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES â SEPTEMBER 22: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., participates in the Senate Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Thursday Sept. 22, 2011, to urge House Republicans to fully fund disaster relief. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, left, greets supporters as he arrives to speak to members of the Asian American community Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, center, speaks to members of the Asian community during a campaign stop at a Chinese restaurant Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) appears on 'Meet the Press' Sunday, Jan 9, 2011 at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FILE In this March 25, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. waits on the floor of the House Capitol Hill in Washington for the arrival of Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, who was to speak before a joint meeting of Congress. Reid is announcing he will not seek re-election to another term. The 75-year-old Reid says in a statement issued by his office Friday that he wants to make sure Democrats regain control of the Senate next year and that it would be "inappropriate" for him to soak up campaign resources when he could be focusing on putting the Democrats back in power. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
FILE - In this March 17, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid thanked likely Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky for dispensing "expert advice" on Reid's injured right eye. "I really appreciate it very, very much," the Nevada Democrat said to Paul, a Republican senator and opthamologist who was taking his turn presiding over the chamber Wednesday. "I want the people of Kentucky to know that, how thoughtful, considerate and kind you've been to me over these months," Reid told Paul. On New Year's Day, Reid injured the right side of his face while exercising and has had surgery to restore the sight in his eye. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) talks to reporters after the weekly Democratic Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol February 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid is wearing a bandage over his right eye after undergoing surgery to repair damage from an exercise accident. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-AZ) speaks during a pen and pad session with reporters at the US Capitol January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid spoke about the injury he suffered over the Christmas break and talked about issues before the US Senate. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way through the Senate Reception Room after the senate luncheons on his first day in the Capitol since injuring himself in a exercise accident, January 20, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senate Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) leaves a meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid returned to work at the US Capitol on Tuesday for the first time since suffering injuries in an exercise accident in late December at his Las Vegas-area home. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Reid, the U.S. Senate's top Democrat, will have surgery next Monday to try to restore full vision to his right eye. Reid suffered three broken ribs, a concussion and broken facial bones near his right eye socket in a New Year's Day accident. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images ** Local Caption *** Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., talks to reporters in his Reno, Nev. office on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. He said he doesn't intend to waste his time raising money for Democrat Bob Goodman in an unlikely bid to unseat popular Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval in November. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, after a Democratic caucus meeting. Democrats and Republicans in Congress vowed urgent support for a $225 million missile defense package for Israel, boosting the likelihood that legislation will clear Congress before lawmakers begin a monthlong vacation at week's end. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, during a news conference about competing bills from the Democrats and Republicans on employee health coverage and birth control under the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE -This June 24, 2014, file photo shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on his way to speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. After changing Senate rules to speed President Barack Obama's nominees through the Senate, Reid has started demanding 60-vote majorities for virtually everything else, most recently to deny Republican leader Mitch McConnell a chance to block rules limiting carbon emissions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, after a Democratic caucus meeting. President Barack Obama will meet with Congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the turmoil in Iraq. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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By MICHELLE RINDELS

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Friday for jokes he made about Asians during a luncheon of business leaders in Las Vegas earlier this week.

Reid was addressing the city's Asian Chamber of Commerce on Thursday when he told the audience, "I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are."

When another man was summoned to the podium, he grabbed the microphone and quipped, "One problem I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight."

Both comments were met with laughter from the crowd of about 150 people.

The incident was captured on video by a tracker, posted on YouTube and distributed to reporters by America Rising, a Republican opposition research firm.

Reid later issued a statement saying: "My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize. Sometimes I say the wrong thing."

Asian Chamber of Commerce Director James Yu said Reid has been a longtime friend of the group, which was established in 1986 to promote political, social and economic parity for Nevada's Asian Pacific American entrepreneurs, according to its website. Yu said he hadn't heard any complaints from attendees about the Senator's comments.

"Someone is making an issue out of a nonissue," he told The Associated Press.

Yu said a young man with a camera had shown up and was told not to videotape the event, and he assured chamber leaders that he was just taking still shots. Yu said the young man would be turned away if he shows up again.

The chamber's luncheon brought a separate disappointment for Reid - the group announced its endorsement of Republican Mark Hutchison for lieutenant governor. Reid has been championing Democratic state lawmaker Lucy Flores in the race, which is the highest-profile contest in Nevada's midterm elections.

Hutchison said he was grateful for support from leaders of Nevada's Asian community, which comprises about 8 percent of the state's population.





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