(WASHINGTON) -- Given the amount of spam email users have received allegedly from Nigerian "princes" and "doctors" looking to share their fortune in gold for a small fee, it's surprising anyone could get offended at Sen. Ted Cruz’s recent joke comparing Obamacare to said scammers.
However, a Nigerian-American organization wants the Texas Republican to apologize for comments he made Monday about the problems with the Affordable Care Act website.
“You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately,” Cruz said at a gathering with supporters in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website,” he joked.
But the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, also known as CANAN, isn’t laughing. The group blasted Cruz, calling his comments distasteful and disparaging.
“Cruz has maligned all hardworking, decent and outstanding Nigerian-Americans who add value and bring goodwill to their different communities, especially in Texas, with the largest concentration of Nigerian-Americans in this country,” the group said in a statement released Thursday.
And that’s not the only place where Cruz’s joke fell flat.
The Nigerian ambassador to the United States also wants an apology from the senator.
Ambassador Ade Adefuye told POLITICO that Nigerians are “disappointed and shocked” by Cruz’s comments.
“We deplore the statement, and we demand an apology, and we demand it be withdrawn,” Adefuye said.
CANAN maintains that despite the stereotype of Nigerians running email scams and being corrupt, the Nigerian-American community is one of the most educated and successful immigrant communities in the United States, with more than 17 percent of Nigerian-American immigrants holding a master’s degree or higher, according to U.S. Census numbers.
The group wants Cruz to issue a formal apology for his remarks.
“We consider it an insult that a senator who should be representing the people of his state could turn against some of his very own constituents in what is clearly a reckless and offensive remark,” CANAN said.
This is not the first time Sen. Cruz has offended an ethnic community with his comments. Last month, Cruz angered a group of Filipino vets after tying his 21-hour speech against Obamacare to the “Bataan death march.”
Towards the end of his marathon speech, Cruz said he wanted, “to thank the men and women who have endured this, this Bataan Death March.”
Cruz later met with a group of Filipino vets to apologize for his statement.
“I apologize for causing offense,” Cruz said. “I should not have said what I did.”
“I was not attempting to compare my filibuster to that suffering,” he added.
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