Every time I start to think we’ve hit Peak Know Nothing in this country, we manage to dig a little deeper and find a whole new vein of stupid to mine:
In an intensely awkward congressional hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, freshman Rep. Curt Clawson misidentified two senior U.S. government officials as representatives of the Indian government.
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.
He went on to ask “Do your people all really like their food that spicy or what?” “What’s the deal with that flat narn bread you folks eat?” and “Do you ever confuse yourselves with American Indians? Because, hoo-boy, let me tell you, sometimes I have a hard time sorting that whole thing out.”
Clawson has now apologized, saying “I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize.” Which, sure, I guess, but both witnesses were introduced before their testimony as employees of the United States federal government. So it’s really not a question of “being fully briefed,” unless Clawson needs to be briefed on stuff that he’s literally just been told. He could just try paying attention next time, instead of assuming. After all, when you assume, you make an ass out of Curt Clawson, or something like that.