A congressman who said that Charlotte protesters were demonstrating because they “hate White people” has apologized for the remark, saying he “regrets” making the statement.

Rep. Robert Pittinger, a Republican who represents parts of Charlotte and its suburbs was interviewed by a BBC “Newsnight” anchor and asked what were the protesters grievances. He responded: “The grievance in their mind is — the animus, the anger — they hate White people because white people are successful and they’re not.” He also blamed welfare programs and blamed them for holding people back.

The comment incited backlash from the public as well as Pettinger’s congressional colleagues. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina congressman representing the northeastern part of the state rebuked Pittenger’s statement, telling CNN he told the Pittenger his comments were “disgusting.” “It is representative of what so many other people think and the anger they have for African Americans,” said Butterfield. “That’s what [the] Black Lives Matter movement is trying to address. Whites need to understand that African Americans have been victimized. It’s not because they’re poor, it’s because they’re black.”

Demonstrations have been taking place in Charlotte since Tuesday over the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, who many contend was unarmed when he was shot. Police say he ignored repeated commands to drop a gun they said he had. The protests grew violent on Wednesday resulting in property damage, injured officers and one person dead in a shooting.

Pittenger sent out a series of tweets expressing regret for his comments.

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement saying Pittenger’s remarks were inexcusable and accused him of “fanning the flames of hate with his racist rhetoric.”

Pittenger, who was first elected to his seat in 2012, won a razor-thin Republican primary this year after a recount, and he faces a Democratic challenger in the November election. His largely affluent district was redrawn under court-ordered redistricting and now includes poorer areas along the South Carolina border.