PONTIAC (AP) — A prominent suburban Detroit leader has apologized for saying he’d rather join the Ku Klux Klan than a group of CEOs who are striving to improve Detroit.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement he chooses “sharp words” and purposely engages in hyperbole to get his points across. He noted that the words he chose “offended a lot of people.”

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Patterson in a letter recently accused CEOs group of snatching business from Oakland County to benefit Detroit. Asked Thursday by a reporter if he’d consider joining the CEOs group, Patterson, who is white, said he’d “rather join the Klan,” a white supremacist group.

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After the apology, the Detroit branch of the NAACP said the region doesn’t need divisiveness between the suburbs and Detroit, which is majority black.

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