GREENVILLE — U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy tweeted that vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris was chosen “for her color and her race” following her debate Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence.

Murphy, a physician from Greenville, later deleted the post, but not before it was noticed and criticized by state Democrats, who called it racist and demanded an apology.

GOP officials said Wednesday that Murphy would be watching the debate with others at the party headquarters on Arlington Boulevard.

His campaign has not responded to The Daily Reflector’s request for a statement about the tweet, but Murphy told a local television station that he meant to say “color and gender,” the Associated Press reported.

The tweet said: “@KamalaHarris is a walking disaster ... she was only picked for color and her race ... is that how we pick our leaders in America?”

Murphy also posted that Harris “is not qualified to be POTUS in any way shape or form. ... She is just not up to the task.”

The state chairman of the Democratic Party called on Murphy to “immediately apologize for his repugnant comments.”

“There is no place for racism in North Carolina, and based on the pure racism in this tweet, there is no place for Greg Murphy in elected office,” Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina Democratic Party chairman, said in a statement.

“His sentiments aren’t just offensive, they diminish the accomplishments of women of color in North Carolina and across our country,” Goodwin said.

Murphy, who was elected to Congress in 2019 to fill an open seat, told the TV station he would not be available for interviews on Thursday. His spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press seeking comment.

After the tweet was deleted, Murphy posted the following statement:

“Given the probability that @JoeBiden, given his mental condition, would not last the first term, the nation should be aghast to think that @KamalaHarris, with her ignorance, arrogance and socialist agenda, could be President. This nation has only one choice @realDonaldTrump.”

Murphy’s heavily Republican 3rd District covers much of the North Carolina coast, including the Outer Banks and parts of Greenville. He is being challenged by Democrat Daryl Farrow, who is black.