Democratic Representative David Trone from Maryland issued an apology following his use of a racial slur in a casual conversation during a congressional budget hearing. The 68-year-old congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate admitted to misspeaking and stated that he was unfamiliar with the term after using it to criticize Republicans. Trone was commending President Joe Biden’s tax proposals when the incident occurred, as reported by The Washington Post.

In his statement, Trone emphasized that as a businessman, corporate tax rates had never impacted his decision-making process and should not affect others as well.

“Not one time ever in the history of my life did I say, ‘What’s the tax rate next year?’” the Democrat said.

“What you look at is, can you compete?” Trone said.

“The tax rate … it’s never, ever once been a consideration,” the congressman said.

He proceeded to criticize Republicans, however, in the process, he uttered a derogatory term aimed at black individuals.

“So this Republican jigaboo that, you know, it’s the tax rate that’s stopping business investment, it’s just completely faulty by people who have never run a business,” Trone said.

“They’ve never been there. They don’t have a clue what they’re talking about,” he said.

Trone was speaking to Shalanda Young, the Director of the Office of Budget and Management, who is African American. Upon being contacted by the Post regarding the offensive remark, the congressman released a formal apology.

“Today while attempting to use the word bugaboo in a hearing, I misspoke and mistakenly used a phrase that is offensive,” he said. “Upon learning the meaning of the word I was deeply disappointed to have accidentally used it, and I apologize.”

Shortly after, Trone released an expanded statement:

“Today while attempting to use the word ‘bugaboo’ in a hearing, I used a phrase that is offensive,” the Democrat said. “That word has a long dark terrible history. It should never be used any time, anywhere, in any conversation.

“I recognize that as a White man, I have privilege. And as an elected official, I have a responsibility for the words I use — especially in the heat of the moment. Regardless of what I meant to say, I shouldn’t have used that language.”

Trone, currently serving his third term in the House, has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat that will become vacant next year due to the retirement of Democrat Ben Cardin from Maryland.

According to a recent poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland, Trone was trailing behind former Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in a potential Senate general election, with Hogan leading by 49 percent to 37 percent.

However, Trone is leading the rest of the candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary. Trone, along with his brother Robert Trone, co-founded Total Wine & More, a nationwide alcohol distribution company, in 1991. With numerous locations across multiple states, Total Wine & More has established a significant presence in the industry.