Johnson was discussing the right-to-work enacted in Michigan on Wednesday when he said, "What happens when you put in a cage fight a giant in with a midget? Well, the midget will not win the fight, I'm going to tell you that. Why? He just doesn't carry enough weight to do so."
On Thursday, Johnson went to the House floor and expressed regret to “abnormally small people” if he had offended them by using “the m-word”.
“Just within the last twelve hours or so, I have found that the use of the m-----, excuse me, the use of the m-word is no longer socially acceptable," said Johnson.
"Now, the m-word refers to a group of people--the little people," he said. "But when we say little people, I am not talking about the Leona Helmsley little people. I am not talking about the 47 percent. I'm not talking about the takers instead of the makers, as some would describe them. I am not talking about the middle class, working people, poor people, working poor people. That is not what is meant by the little people term."
“It really refers to a medical condition," said Johnson. "Dwarfism is the name of that medical condition. Sometimes, I guess, one can even say abnormally small people, abnormally small people, which to me is, I like that term better than dwarfism. So, I wanted to say to all of those who may have been offended by my use of the term--the ‘m-word’--I want you to know that it was out of ignorance and not spite or hatred that I used that term.”