YORK, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania state senator seeking next year’s Republican nomination for governor says he doesn’t plan to apologize for calling billionaire Democratic donor George Soros “a Hungarian Jew” with “a hatred for America.”
Sen. Scott Wagner told the York Daily Record on Monday that “everybody’s getting their knickers around their ankles over this and there’s no reason for that.”
Wagner’s comments were recorded by an opposition tracker at a tomato festival in Pittston last week.
He says if Soros was Catholic, he’d have called him a Hungarian Catholic, and meant no offense by it. He says his comments weren’t meant to be disrespectful or racist.
On Monday, the state Democratic Party described Wagner’s comments as anti-Semitic.
Wagner says he has a long record of donating to the York Jewish Community Center.
Earlier this year, Sen. Wagner was caught on video grabbing an opposition researcher’s camera during a luncheon speech before the York County Estate Planning Council. The footage showed the senator physically confronting the photographer, who worked for a liberal political group called American Bridge.
“I’m going to confiscate your camera. Remember the trackers I was telling you about. I’m going to confiscate your camera,” Wagner was caught on camera saying back in May.
Prosecutors did not file charges in connection with the incident.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)