Awkward Video: Republican Congressman Confuses Dark-Skinned Senior American Officials For Foreigners
On Thursday, Florida Republican Congressman Curt Clawson, a member of the House Asia and Pacific Committee, confused two senior State and Commerce Department officials for foreign diplomats – presumably because they are of South Asian descent.
At the House hearing, Clawson told State and Commerce Department officials Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar that he supports every effort to improve the relationship between the US and “your country” and “your government.”
There’s just one problem with that. Biswal is the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs. Kumar is the director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service.
“I’m familiar with your country,” the freshman congressman told the amused officials. “I love your country. Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so.”
“Just like your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I’d like our capital to be welcome there,” the confused congressman continued. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”
The two laughed good naturedly as Biswal reminded him that “I think your question is to the Indian government, we share your sentiments, and we certainly advocate that on behalf of the US.”
After the hearing, Clawson apologized, telling USA Today, “I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball.”