NBC host apology for ‘assimilation’ remark

NBC host apology for ‘assimilation’ remark

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Tom Brokaw Image copyright Getty Images

Veteran NBC News presenter Tom Brokaw has been criticised for saying on the network that Hispanic-Americans should “work harder at assimilation”.

He told NBC’s Meet the Press he had been arguing for some time that Latinos in the US should be ensuring their children speak English.

The remark led to criticism from a fellow guest on Sunday’s show and a social media backlash.

Brokaw, 78, took to Twitter hours later to issue an apology.

The veteran newsman was appearing as a guest on the programme to discuss President Donald Trump’s attempts to get Congress to fund a US-Mexico border wall.

  • Trump sceptical a wall deal can be struck

Brokaw began by sharing the views of some Republican voters, whom he said had told him: “Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.”

He added: “I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation.

“That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time.

“You know, that they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities.”

But his fellow guest on the roundtable, PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, said: “The idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is in some ways troubling.”

Brokaw later posted a series of apologetic tweets.

He said he was “truly sorry” for remarks that he acknowledged were “offensive to many” and praised US diversity.

The NBC special correspondent signed off: “it worked! i got your attention. ‘night.”

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