Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a couple of Asian jokes Thursday at an event for the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce.
“I don’t think you’re smarter than everybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are,” Reid joked, to mild laughter.
“One problem I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight,” he said, referencing the common Chinese last name. The video was recorded and published by American Rising, a political opposition research group.
Reid’s humor was not enough to sway the group to back his choice for lieutenant governor, Democrat Lucy Flores. The group voted to endorse her Republican opponent, Mark Hutchison.
The comments would not be the first time Reid has made strange, if not offensive, racial remarks. During the 2008 presidential run, Reid said that then-Sen. Barack Obama would do well with white voters because he was “light-skinned” and spoke “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Reid has now turned around and apologized for the jokes in a statement to TIME. “My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize,” Reid said. “Sometimes I say the wrong thing.” Or perhaps he meant to say the “wong” thing?