Freshman Florida Congressman Curt Clawson (R) is still finding his way around the U.S. Capitol after his victory in a special election last month — and he's also apparently still figuring out that public officials of Asian ethnicities are not necessarily foreigners.
Foreign Policy uncovered video from a subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, on which Clawson sits — in which Clawson spoke to two high-ranking U.S. officials, Nisha Biswal of the State Department and Arun Kumar of the Commerce Department, as if they were Indian bureaucrats, and proceeded to lay out to them his own complaints against economic policies in India.
"I am familiar with your country; I love your country; and I understand the complications of so many languages, and so many cultures, and so many histories all rolled up in one," said Clawson. "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 there... And I ask cooperation, and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?"
After an awkward pause, an obviously dumbfounded Biswal answered: "I think your question is to the Indian government. And we certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S. government."
"Of course," a smiling Clawson responded, in a manner so self-assured that it did not immediately appear that he even realized his mistake.
As Foreign Policy notes, Clawson also spoke during the hearing about his favorite Bollywood movies.