Newly-minted Tea Party-backed Florida Republican representative (there’s three warnings already) Curt Clawson turned a fairly dull House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting into a potential bonus scene from Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay when he mistook two senior US government officials for foreigners.
“I’m familiar with your country; I love your country,” Clawson said at the hearing, and he was met with what Foreign Policy called “looks of confusion” from Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, are Americans who hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department.
He likely made the rookie mistake of failing to read the meeting briefing, but as Foreign Policy puts it, he also was “apparently confused by their Indian surnames and skin color,” and as the video below shows, he smugly asked them to help India be a good little client state for big daddy ‘Murica:
“Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S.,” he continued, inserting foot deeper into mouth, “I’d like our capital to be welcome there. I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”
With commendable composure, Biswal replied, “I think your question is to the Indian government. We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S..”
Foreign Policy also reported: “During the hearing, he repeatedly touted his deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and his favorite Bollywood movies.”
Clawson apologized afterwards, saying “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.”
Clawson is a newly elected representative for Florida’s 19th Congressional District. He replaced former representative Trey Radel, who took leave after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.