Burien legislator calls Ariz. a ‘racist wasteland’

SEATTLE — A Washington state lawmaker said Sunday he was just engaging in some sports trash talk when he called the state of Arizona a “racist wasteland.”

Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon made his harsh comment on Twitter after the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals. Fitzgibbon later deleted his message and said in an interview that people were taking his trash talk a little too seriously.

“If folks are going to take that too seriously, then I’m sorry about that,” Fitzgibbon said.

Still, Fitzgibbon said people in Washington state “have not appreciated” how Arizona has treated immigrants, particularly citing a 2010 immigration law that was subject to a legal challenge from the federal government. He said Arizona leaders need to look at changing laws that he believes amount to racial profiling.

One of the 2010 Arizona law’s requirements is that officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally.

The Cardinals’ 17-10 win in Seattle on Sunday kept their postseason hopes alive while snapping the Seahawks’ 14-game home win streak. Fitzgibbon’s comment was posted shortly after the game.

“Losing a football game sucks,” Fitzgibbon wrote. “Losing to a desert racist wasteland sucks a lot.”

Washington state Republican Rep. J.T. Wilcox said in his own post on Twitter that Fitzgibbon’s message “makes us all look bad.”

Fitzgibbon is from Burien and represents the 34th Legislative District, which covers West Seattle, Burien and Vashon Island. He was first elected in 2010 and didn’t face any opposition when he ran for re-election last year.

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Follow AP Writer Mike Baker on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeBakerAP

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