Rep. Don Young calls farm workers ‘wetbacks,’ says he ‘meant no disrespect’

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Vince Coglianese
Executive Editor
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      Vince Coglianese

      Vince Coglianese is the executive editor of The Daily Caller.

      His reporting has received wide coverage, including in the pages of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Drudge Report, among others. Vince has appeared as a guest on the Fox News Channel, CNN and CNBC, as well as other cable news networks. Additionally, Vince has been a guest on "The Sean Hannity Radio Show," Sirius XM''s "The Press Pool with Julie Mason," "The Schnitt Show" and Glenn Beck's TheBlaze TV.

      Prior to joining TheDC, Vince was the Web Editor for CarolinaCoastOnline.com, and a radio talk show host for The Talk Station (WTKF/WJNC) in Morehead City, N.C.

Alaska Congressman Don Young told a public radio station Tuesday that he and his father used to hire “wetbacks to pick tomatoes” on their ranch.

“I used to own — my father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” the 79-year-old Republican lawmaker said during an interview on KRBD. “You know it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”


By Thursday night, Young had come under substantial fire for using the term “wetbacks” — a pejorative term for Mexican farm workers — and issued a statement insisting he “meant no disrespect.”

“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young said. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”

The statement has done little to slow down criticism, with the Alaska Daily News writing that Young “stopped short of apologizing” and the liberal Think Progress blog writing that he “refuses to apologize.”

Young has been in Congress for 40 years.

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