#HateWhitePeople trends as Congressman apologizes for 'racist' Charlotte comments (VIDEO)

U.S. Representative Robert Pittenger © Chris Keane
North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger has apologized after stating in a TV interview that Charlotte protesters “hate white people because white people are successful and they're not."

The Republican lawmaker made the comments during a BBC interview broadcast in the UK on Thursday night.

When asked what he believed the causes of the Charlotte protests were, he responded; “The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

He then went on to criticize the “welfare state” that he claimed has emerged in the US.

Pittenger’s comments sparked an immediate twitterstorm with fellow North Carolina lawmakers blasting his remarks.

The North Carolina Democratic Party issued a statement condemning Pittenger’s “racist rhetoric.”

The congressman quickly issued an apology following the fallout, claiming he was quoting statements made by angry protesters and that his intent was “to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies.”

READ MORE: Curfew set on 3rd night of Charlotte protests against police killing of Keith Scott 

Pittenger represents North Carolina's 9th District, which includes southern parts of the now highly charged Charlotte, where violent protests have erupted following the fatal shooting of a black man by police.

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot by a plainclothes police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday. Police claimed he had a gun while his family insisted he was unarmed and reading a book. His family has released a video of the shooting that was recorded by his wife, who was talking to police from a distance. It was released to NBC News after law enforcement agencies once again refused to release their footage.

Scott’s  killing has sparked nightly riots resulting in mass arrests, injuries and the death of one protester.

READ MORE: Suspect in killing of protester arrested in Charlotte

Hate White People is trending on Twitter following the lawmaker’s controversial remarks - more than 39,000 tweets have been posted with the hashtag, some agreeing and supporting Pittenger’s comments.

While others have condemned the “racist” and “hateful’’ remarks, saying Pittenger’s apology is not adequate.