HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Connecticut lawmaker is under fire for repeatedly using the N-word in a speech to a Democratic group at the University of Connecticut.

The University of Connecticut College Democrats said Democratic state Sen. Gayle Slossberg used the term during a meeting on Oct. 3. In a statement on Wednesday, the group says she used the word without euphemisms to describe her work removing books with racial epithets from grade school libraries.

Slossberg said she used the word as it appeared in a children’s book, and she was trying to convey why the word has no place in society. The senator said she has since sent a formal apology to the club.

The club said  the use of the word is “reprehensible” and “unjustifiable” regardless of the context.

Democrats are expressing outrage, but the head of the state Republican party is defending her.

“This was retaliation for Gayle Slossberg voting for the bi-partisan budget,” said J.R. Romano, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee. “Our state is beyond party loyalty at this point. We’re $5 billion in the hole and democrats don’t have any solid answers.”

He calls the controversy bizarre.

“The insanity of this whole scenario is they discussed the content in the book and now they’re morally outraged at the content in the book and going after the person who wanted to ban the books in the first place,” Romano told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

The president of the Connecticut NAACP is condemning Slossberg’s use of the N-word, but the chairman of the Bridgeport area chapter of the group tells the Connecticut Post that in this context it’s acceptable.

Slossberg could not be reached for comment.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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