Rep. Robert Pittenger sorry for saying Charlotte protesters 'hate white people'

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A North Carolina congressman has apologized for saying the protesters in Charlotte "hate white people because white people are successful and they're not."

Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Republican, made the remarks in an interview with the BBC broadcast in the United Kingdom late Thursday.

RELATED: Rep. Robert Pittenger (R NC-9)

"The grievance in their mind is the animus, the anger," Pittenger told the program, referring to the protesters in Charlotte. "They hate white people because white people are successful and they're not."

RELATED: Protests in Charlotte after police kill Keith Lamont Scott

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Protests in Charlotte after police kill Keith Lamont Scott
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Protests in Charlotte after police kill Keith Lamont Scott
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers face off with protestors on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police officer in riot gear walks past a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers face off with protestors on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CMPD officers stand in a haze of tear gas on Old Concord Rd. on Tuesday night, Sept. 20, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. The protest began on Old Concord Road at Bonnie Lane, where a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer fatally shot a man in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs apartment complex Tuesday afternoon. The man who died was identified late Tuesday as Keith Scott, 43, and the officer who fired the fatal shot was CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Protestors surround a CMPD vehicle on Old Concord Rd. on Tuesday night, Sept. 20, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. The protest began on Old Concord Road at Bonnie Lane, where a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer fatally shot a man in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs apartment complex Tuesday afternoon. The man who died was identified late Tuesday as Keith Scott, 43, and the officer who fired the fatal shot was CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
In this frame from video provided by WBTV, a police vehicle is damaged after protests broke out Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C., following a fatal shooting of a black man by police. (WBTV via AP)
A protestor holds a sign showing a book and a gun on Old Concord Rd. on Tuesday night, Sept. 20, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. A protest began on Old Concord Road at Bonnie Lane, where a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer fatally shot a man in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs apartment complex Tuesday afternoon. The man who died was identified late Tuesday as Keith Scott, 43 and the officer who fired the fatal shot was CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson. Earlier a woman who said she is Scott's daughter claimed on a live-streamed video on Facebook that Scott was unarmed when he was shot. In the video, the woman said her father was sitting in his car reading a book and waiting for the school bus to drop off his son. She claimed that her father was tasered and then shot four times, and that he was disabled. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers face off with protestors on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police officer attempts to extinguish a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Adam Rhew/Charlotte Magazine MANDATORY CREDIT
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police helicopter illuminates protestors blocking traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers hold their line on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police officer stands guard near a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors run from a gas canister after blocking traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests of an officer-involved fatal shooting September 20, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
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The comments sparked an immediate backlash, with fellow North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield — a Democrat — calling the remarks "disgusting" and "appalling."

Around two hours after giving the interview, Pittenger tweeted: "My anguish led me to respond to a reporter's question in a way that I regret."

He claimed he was "quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV" and that his "intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African-Americans because of failed policies."

Pittenger represents North Carolina's 9th District, which includes southern parts of Charlotte. Protests broke out in the city following the police shooting of African-American man named Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.

RELATED: Support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Police say Scott was armed but his family has expressed doubt over that claim.

Even after Pittenger's apology, social media was alight with criticism.

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