Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has apologized for a Twitter message he posted Thursday night that compared Iowa State basketball fans' depression to a regrettable chapter in American history, USA Today reports
Following the Ohio State men's basketball team’s last-second victory over Arizona Wildcats on Thursday, Braley posted the tweet:: “It's official. Ohio State is the luckiest team in the tournament. #TrailOfTears.” The Buckeyes had defeated Braley’s Iowa St. Cyclones in similar fashion early in the tournament.
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Braley quickly deleted the hashtag, but not before it triggered negative reactions from those who considered it an inappropriate comparison.
The Trail of Tears was the name given to the route the Cherokee people walked in the late 1830s when the U.S. government forcefully removed them from their land in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in what is now Oklahoma.
“Hundreds of Cherokee died during their trip west, and thousands more perished from the consequences of relocation,” according to the National Park Service.
Braley quickly made clear that he was referring to Iowa State fans, who were deflated last Sunday when Ohio State's Aaron Craft hit a game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second left on the clock, preventing Iowa State from advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.
Braley's apology tweet read: “The ‘tears’ I was referring to were the tears of Cyclone fans. I have removed the tweet & apologize to anyone who was offended.”
Braley is the second member of Congress this week to be taken to task for a disturbing comment.
On Thursday, Rep. Don Young, R-AK., referred to migrant workers as "wetbacks" in a radio interview aired in his home state.
The term is considered a slur against illegal immigrants who crossed into the United States from Mexico.
“My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50-60 wetbacks ... to pick tomatoes ... it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It is all done by machine,” Young said in the interview.
The 79-year old Young issued an apology for the remark, saying it was a commonly used term when he was growing up on a farm in Central California.
“I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect,” Young said.
Still, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH., condemned the reference.
“Congressman Young's remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds. I don't care why he said it — there's no excuse,” Boehner said in a statement issued on Friday.
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