Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
File - Sen Orin Hatch walks on stage to speak prior to President Donald Trump at the Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City on Dec 4, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch apologized Friday for "off-color" remarks he made about Obamacare supporters in a speech the day before.

"Yesterday, I made a poorly worded joke about Obamacare supporters — a joke that was not reflective of my actual feelings towards my friends on the other side," the Utah Republican said in a prepared statement.

Hatch said he has always recognized the importance of civility, particularly when engaging with those of different political perspectives.

"While I occasionally slip up, I believe that my legislative record reflects my commitment to bipartisanship and civility much more than my flippant, off-the-cuff comment," he said.

Hatch called the Affordable Care Act the "stupidest, dumbass" bill he has ever seen during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

"Now some of you may have loved it. If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I've ever met," the retiring senator said, adding "and there are a lot of them up on Capitol Hill from time to time."

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The remarks came after Hatch sarcastically referred to the Obamacare legislation as "wonderful."

Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock sent out a statement Thursday saying, "The comments were obviously made in jest, but what’s not a joke is the harm Obamacare has caused for countless Utahns."

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, a Democrat, is among those who called Hatch out on his choice of words.

"This is disappointing. We can disagree on policy (and when it comes to the #ACA we do) but name calling is never appropriate in public discourse," she tweeted.