Rep. Curt Clawson, a Tea Party-backed Republican congressman from Florida, made a complete ass out of himself during a committee hearing by talking to two senior administration officials, both of apparent Indian descent, as though they represented the Indian government rather than ours.
The two officials, Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, are Americans who hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively. Although both Biswal and Kumar were introduced as U.S. officials by the chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, Clawson repeatedly asked them questions about “your country” and “your government,” in reference to the state of India.
“I’m familiar with your country; I love your country,” the Florida Republican said. “Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so.”
Apparently confused by their Indian surnames and skin color, Clawson also asked if “their” government could loosen restrictions on U.S. capital investments in India.
“Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I’d like our capital to be welcome there,” he said. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”The question prompted a lengthy pause and looks of confusion from State Department and congressional staff attending the hearing.
“I think your question is to the Indian government,” Biswal said. “We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S.”
Very diplomatic on the part of the two witnesses. Personally, I would have gone with, “Hey, fucking moron. We’re Americans. We were introduced to you. You have a witness sheet in front of you with our titles on it. Can you read?” To make things worse, he “repeatedly touted his deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and his favorite Bollywood movies.” Jesus, can we just not be the country of idiots? Just once? Is that too much to ask? Here’s video: