U.S. Rep. David Trone, who is running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, apologized for the use of a racial slur during a hearing on Thursday that he said was unintentional.

Trone, speaking during a budget hearing on Capitol Hill, said: “This Republican jigaboo that, you know, it’s a tax rate that’s stopping business investment, that’s just completely faulty by people who have never run a business. They’ve never been there.”

Trone’s remark came during an exchange with Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and the first Black woman to hold that position. Young did not respond to or address Trone’s word choice. She continued the conversation with Trone about policies to spur investment.

A spokesperson for the Office of Budget and Management declined to comment.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The word the Democratic Congressman used is an offensive and dated term for a Black person, and not what Trone said he intended to say.

“While attempting to use the word bugaboo in a hearing, I used a phrase that is offensive,” Trone, who is white, said in a statement released by his campaign. “That word has a long, dark, terrible history. It should never be used any time, anywhere, in any conversation.”

The statement continued: “I recognize that as a white man, I have privilege. And as an elected official, I have a responsibility for the words I use. Regardless of what I meant to say, I shouldn’t have used that language and I apologize.”

Trone is a top Democratic contender for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat, along with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Alsobrooks, who is Black, could not be reached for comment and her campaign declined to comment.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Trone made the remark while speaking in support of President Joe Biden’s proposed budget, which would increase taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Trone’s comment was first reported by The Washington Post.

Recent polling from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland showed Trone with a 34% to 27% advantage over Alsobrooks among Democratic voters, with 39% undecided. The winner of the primary is likely to face Republican Larry Hogan, the former governor, in the general election.

The seat is open following longtime U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s announcement last year that he won’t run for reelection in 2024.

Watch video of Trone’s remarks

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

More From The Banner