PHOENIX (AP) -- Hispanic politicians and activists are reacting to the filing of federal charges accusing two Arizona men of accidentally starting the state's largest wildfire by criticizing Sen. John McCain.
Current and former Democratic legislators and other Hispanic leaders called Thursday for the Arizona Republican to apologize for saying in July that illegal immigrants have started some fires.
Former state Rep. John Loredo and others said McCain engaged in race-baiting by not specifying after touring the Wallow Fire what fires he was talking about.
McCain's office reacted by saying that McCain wasn't referring to the Wallow Fire when he said "some fires."
And spokesman Brian Rogers says no apology is owed or coming because the Forest Service had told McCain during a briefing that illegal immigrants have started some fires along the border.
Here is the full statement Brian Rogers released to 3TV:
“It is shameful that some are trying to play politics with the worst wildfire in Arizona history. As Senator McCain has said time and time and time again, he was not referring to the Wallow Fire in his remarks two months ago. Instead has was referencing a U.S. Forest Service official’s briefing he had just received reporting that some fires along the Arizona-Mexico border were in fact started by illegal immigrants -- a fact that has been widely supported by federal, state and local officials. As the Arizona Daily Star reported, the U.S. Forest Service officially determined that five fires in recent years have been started by illegal immigrants.” -- Brian Rogers, Communications Director, Sen. John McCain