Robert DeNiro has responded to Newt Gingrich's charge that a joke he made about the country not being "ready for a white First Lady" were divisive and "inexcusable."
"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone -- especially the First Lady,” DeNiro said in a statement to Talking Points Memo.
Michelle Obama's campaign press secretary also stopped short of apologizing for DeNiro's joke, saying Tuesday that it was "inappropriate" and declining further comment.
DeNiro made the quip Monday night at an Obama campaign event he co-hosted with the First Lady.
"Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white First Lady?" he asked the crowd. "Too soon, right?"
Newt Gingrich reacted explosively on Tuesday, tearing into DeNiro for being a rich, out-of-touch Hollywood actor and condemning his joke for being racially charged.
"I do want to say one thing, both on behalf of my wife and on behalf of Karen Santorum and on behalf of Ann Romney, I think that Robert DeNiro's wrong," he said. "I think the country is ready for a new first lady and he doesn't have to describe it in racial terms."
Newt has not yet responded to DeNiro's statement.