WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — D.C. Council member Marion Barry is claiming his remarks about Filipino nurses have been taken out of context by the media.
During a UDC budget meeting on Monday, the former mayor criticized the city for not producing enough medical professionals of their own.
“It’s so bad, that if you go to the hospital now, you’ll find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines,” Barry said at the meeting. “And no offense, but let’s grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses, and so that we don’t have to go scrounging in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else.”
Filipino Ambassador Jose Cuisia issued a statement Wednesday calling Barry’s comments “intolerant and narrow-minded.” He further said the Barry had a “penchant for blaming Asians” that fuels racism, discrimination and violence.
The 76-year-old “Mayor for Life” said he spoke with Cuisia on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the controversy. The talk went well according to Barry.
Barry’s remarks on Monday came just weeks after he harshly criticized Asian-owned business in Ward 8.
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” he said at another public event. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
Thursday, a frustrated Barry scolded the media for their portrayal of him.
“The media has a way of trying to divide us,” he said, per the Washington Examiner. “That’s their whole purpose, not to report the news, not to cover the news, [but] to take things out of context.”
He added: “Stop trying to divide us, because it is not going to work.”