04/20/2018 19:06 EDT | Updated 04/20/2018 20:24 EDT

Ontario Liberal Campaign Co-Chair David Herle Sorry He Called Doug Ford 'A D*ck'

He said he regrets making the comment.

CHATHAM, Ont. — A senior campaign official for the Ontario Liberals is apologizing for a crude comment he made on live television about Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford.

David Herle, campaign co-chair for Premier Kathleen Wynne, appeared on a panel discussion on Toronto TV station CP24 on Friday, where he compared Ford to his late brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Herle said, "I think people liked Rob Ford, and I think people think Doug Ford's a bit of a dick, to be honest."

He later issued a statement saying he regrets the comment and he apologizes "without qualification."

"Doug Ford has a long history of using derogatory and insulting terms to refer to a wide range of people with whom he disagrees — including female journalists, parents of autistic children and many others," Herle said in the statement issued Friday evening.

"No matter how commonplace such conduct might be for Mr. Ford, it is no justification to follow suit. There is an important difference between naming behaviours and name-calling. Today, I used a term in reference to Mr. Ford that was inappropriate and I regret it."

Ford said if he were in Wynne's position, he would ask Herle to resign.

"I have thick skin. I've been called names before," Ford said at a campaign event in Chatham, Ont., Friday evening. "But what bothers me the most is what he's saying, he's insulting the people of Ontario that want to move this province forward. He's insulting my supporters that consist of PC, Liberal and NDP (voters)."

Wynne reacts:

Ford said he would take the "high road" and not resort to name-calling, but that Herle should step down.

Wynne, who's fighting for re-election this spring, said Friday evening that Herle should apologize. However, she said he would remain in his position.

Speaking at the federal Liberal convention in Halifax, Wynne said it wasn't an "appropriate choice of words," but that Herle would not face further discipline.