California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox was recorded comparing long wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles to the Holocaust.
"You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse," Cox said in the recording released by Capital Public Radio. "He's 90 years old, and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?"
Cox has been visiting DMV offices recently, campaigning on the excessive wait times.
The audio came from a stop at a Sacramento office, with Cox relating the story to a person waiting.
His campaign spokesman later told Capital Public Radio that Cox did not mean to say the situation was worse than the Holocaust.
He said Cox did not tell the man's story accurately, and that the man actually said the waits reminded him of what it was like in pre-war Germany and Latvia.
In a statement issued, Cox said:
"Last week I spoke with a 90 year-old Holocaust survivor waiting all day at the DMV who compared the wait to the long lines in pre-war Germany and Latvia, one of the most horrific times in history. His story stuck with me not only because of the gravity of speaking with a Holocaust survivor, but because my mother was Jewish and this subject always compelled the utmost respect and attention in our home.
While recounting the conversation with the gentleman in the DMV while I was in Sacramento, I attempted to convey his frustration and, in paraphrasing his comments, I misspoke. I certainly apologize to that gentleman, and to anyone that may have been offended. I'm not as polished as some others in the public eye - and when I get it wrong, I'll admit it as I'm doing now.
I will continue to travel the state and listen to the frustrations of Californians, and will work tirelessly to bring attention to those individuals."