Michigan state Representative Bettie Cook Scott has issued an apology following outrage over racist comments about her former opponent, state Representative Stephanie Chang, during the pair’s recent battle in the Democratic primary for the state Senate. Earlier this week, liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan revealed that Scott told voters during the August 7 primary that she was “disgusted seeing black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.” She also warned constituents that “immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us” and, unless they want that trend to continue, they shouldn’t vote for the “ching-chong.” Chang, who previously broke new ground by becoming the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature in 2014, went on to win the primary with 49 percent of the vote, while Scott took just 11 percent.
Outrage over Scott’s comments led to condemnation and calls for an apology from the Michigan Democratic Party, Asian rights groups, and from Chang herself.
“It isn’t about me,” Chang told the Detroit Metro Times. “It’s about an elected official disrespecting entire populations, whether they be Asian-American, immigrant, or residents of Senate District 1 or [Cook’s] own current house district.”
On Thursday, Scott issued a statement of apology through her lawyer, Bill Noakes.
“Those are not the kinds of comments that should be made nor are they the kind of comments I would normally make,” the statement read. “I humbly apologize to Representative Chang and to her husband, Mr. Gray, and to the broader Asian American community.”
“We live in a time of increasing divisiveness,” the statement continued. “As a state representative, I should never do anything to contribute to an atmosphere of divisiveness and for that, I am terribly sorry.”