Freshman Congressman Curt Clawson is new on the job. So when he saw senior U.S. officials Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar at a Foreign Affairs committee meeting yesterday, he did what any Tea Party Floridian would do — he assumed they were members of the Indian government.
Instead of paying attention when the two were introduced (Biswal works for the State Department and Kumar works in Commerce), or checking the cheat sheet on his table which listed everyone in the meeting, he just told them, "I love your country."
John Hudson at Foreign Policy reports that Clawson referred to Biswal and Kumar as members of the Indian government throughout the entire meeting. No one corrected him. Hudson recorded the many things Clawson said to try to win their favor:
"I'm familiar with your country; I love your country. Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I'm willing and enthusiastic about doing so."
"Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I'd like our capital to be welcome [in India]. I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from yourgovernment in so doing. Can I have that?"
Kumar smiled at that one, while Biswal tried to break the awkward silence: "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."
And here's a bonus:
During the hearing, [Clawson] repeatedly touted his deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and his favorite Bollywood movies.
There you have it: Clawson has deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent, and lesser knowledge of non-white people working in the American government.
[Image via Foreign Policy]