Rep. Mistakes Officials for Foreigners

In a congressional hearing on Thursday thereafter described as “intensely awkward,” freshman Rep. Curt Clawson mistook two senior U.S. government officials as Indian representatives, apparently because of their last names and skin color. While addressing the officials, Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, Americans in senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department, the freshman Republican from Florida repeatedly referenced “your country” and “your government.” “I’m familiar with your country; I love your country,” Clawson said. “Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I'm willing and enthusiastic about doing so.” Digging himself deeper, Clawson went on to say, “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. I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?” Confused, Biswal replied, "I think your question is to the Indian government. We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that onbehalf of the U.S."