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Democratic rep apologizes for saying he is an 'Asian trapped in a white body'

He represents a significant Asian and Pacific Islander constituency in Hawaii

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A Democratic congressman from Hawaii got a bit too familiar with the people he represented during an event for Asian and Pacific Islander American members of Congress on Tuesday, and issued an apology statement the next day, according to CNN.

Rep. Ed Case was speaking to the gathered crowd at the event when he told them "I'm an Asian trapped in a white body," apparently referencing his closeness with his community and something he said his wife, who is Japanese-American, has said about him in the past.

"I regret if my specific remarks to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense," Case said in an email to The Washington Post. Case said his comment came out because he is "fiercely proud" to represent the only U.S. district where the majority of the population is Asian.

Why did he say it?

Case said he has "absorbed" the values of the many cultures in the district he represents.

"Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures," Case said. "They and not my specific ethnicity are who I am, and I believe that this makes me an effective advocate on national issue affecting our API community."

What's his background?

Case was a congressman from 2002 until 2007, and he failed in two attempts to run for the U.S. Senate. He lost the Democratic primary in 2006 to Daniel Akaka, the incumbent at the time, and lost the 2012 primary to Sen. Mazie Hirono.

A member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Case returned to politics after serving as a hotel chain executive following his failed Senate bids.

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