Queens Borough President Helen Marshall referred to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the first Asian-American congresswoman from New York, as “Chinese” at a rally for the Voting Rights Act on Friday.
“We have this wonderful young Chinese woman who works in this borough,” Marshall said to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also spoke at the event, held at Borough Hall. The borough president was speaking of the greater role minorities have come to play in the electoral process in recent years.
Marshall’s aides were quick to jump in and mention it was Meng — who was not in attendance — the borough president was referring to.
“Yes, she has done wonderful things for our borough and is a prime example of the strides our borough has made,” Marshall said after she was reminded.
Her office later added that the borough president’s statement was not malicious but that Meng’s name had briefly slipped her mind.
In fact, Marshall spoke quite highly of Meng during the rally and quickly corrected herself by saying, “Oh yes, Grace Meng,” after the initial statement was made.
The congresswoman’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.