US & Canada

Charlotte congressman sorry for Newsnight race comments

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Media captionCongressman Robert Pittenger tells BBC Newsnight: 'They hate white people because white people are successful'

North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger has apologised following remarks about the black community he made to BBC Newsnight.

"The grievance in their mind is the animus, the anger," the Republican said about the protesters in the city of Charlotte in his home state.

"They hate white people because white people are successful and they're not."

Protests followed the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, in Charlotte on Tuesday.

Mr Pittenger, who represents the city in the US House of Representatives and has backed Donald Trump for president, apologised within hours of the interview on Thursday night.

Watch the whole interview here

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He had faced severe criticism from his constituents as well as fellow members of Congress.

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Democratic North Carolina Congressman GK Butterfield, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, attacked his colleague's remarks on Twitter.

"This is an appalling sentiment from an era our country has left behind - and it is beneath any American, let alone a Member of Congress," Mr Butterfield tweeted.

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Image caption Mr Butterfield chairs the Congressional Black Caucus

Criticism also came from North Carolina state politicians.

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Mr Pittenger later appeared on CNN, attempting to walk back his comments, but many were unconvinced.

Charlotte has seen three nights of protests since the death of Mr Scott. Thursday's was largely peaceful after violence a day earlier during which one person was fatally shot.

Police say that Mr Scott was armed with a handgun but his family and neighbours claim he was holding a book. His family say they want video recording of the shooting to be released.

Image copyright Twitter

Meanwhile, Mr Trump's campaign chair in Ohio resigned on Thursday after claiming racism did not exist before President Barack Obama was elected.

Kathy Miller, who managed Mr Trump's campaign in Mahoning County, told the Guardian: "I don't think there was any racism until Obama got elected.

"We never had problems like this … Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighbourhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that's a big change, and I think that's the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America."

Ms Miller resigned hours after the newspaper published her interview and apologised for her "inappropriate" comments.

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