Lawmaker Mistakes U.S. Officials for Representatives of India

Curt Clawson is a representative for Florida's 19th congressional district. He assumed office June 25, 2014.

Curt Clawson is a representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district. He assumed office June 25, 2014.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Curt Clawson, a congressman for all of one month, made an embarrassing mistake this week when he confused two Obama administration officials with representatives from India.

At a Thursday hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Clawson talked how much he admired the witnesses’ 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 into one,” the Florida Republican said.

It was clear Clawson didn’t realize he was speaking to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, two high-level officials at the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively.

It got worse.

“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,” he said at a later point in the hearing. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”

There was a pause.

As Kumar sat with a big grin, Biswal politely responded: “I, I, I think your question is to the Indian government, and we certainly share your sentiments and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S. government.”

“OK,” Clawson said, smiling. “Let’s see some progress.”

Clawson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He was elected last month to fill the seat vacated by Republican Trey Radel, who stepped down earlier this year after getting caught buying cocaine from a federal law enforcement agent.

A former CEO of a global manufacturing company, Clawson joined the Foreign Affairs Committee a couple of weeks ago.

Chairman Ed Royce, R-California, pointed to Clawson’s “fluency in four languages and his time residing in six countries” as some of Clawson’s top-shelf credentials in a press release announcing his new position.

CNN’s Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

16 comments

  • Kamandak

    Forget the gaff – let’s look at what he said “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,” Does this mean he is pro-outsourcing? Why else would he be concerned with India welcoming our capital? What Indian companies are in the US offering good-paying jobs? The saddest part about all of this is – because of his idiocy this story will make it all around the US, how many citizens are going to stop laughing at him long enough to be concerned with what he ACTUALLY said?

  • Troy Hendrickson

    The funny part is how he claims they’re welcome to create good paying jobs here, and the US should be able to create good paying jobs in India, when he meant they should allow US companies to exploit their sweatshop labor for cheap good and they’re money should be sitting in a US bank making more money for the CEOs.

  • The Emperor is Really Naked

    Still not as funny as Obama mistaking Hawaii for Asia or thinking there are 57 states in the United States, or that corpsman is pronounced CORPSEman, to name a few of his gaffes. But of course, the media likes to keep those under wraps while making a BFD out of anything a Republican does.

    • Kamandak

      They really didn’t do a good job of ‘keeping it under wraps’ if you know about it – now did they?

      • J3

        You do understand the difference between “widely covered and plastered” as opposed to mere mentions, right?

  • Lola

    Hmmmm, don’t think I saw that plastered anywhere, TBH. Did WHO have it up as a main story for a day or so? Don’t think so. The Emp person is correct.

    • Troy Hendrickson

      Unfortunately, your an imaginary character, not an actual person so your words aren;t very relevant, or true for that matter. But hey, you;re more than welcome to argue with the other fictional characters.

      • J3

        LOL, Troy. So, looks like you are talking to fictitious people. Have you thought of seeking professional help? Seriously, though. You are a page right out of the lib playbook: If you cannot respond on the merit of the conversation at hand, don’t hesitate to throw garbage at the person you disagree with–make it personal and divert attention if at all possible. Troy-Boy, grow up.

    • Kamandak

      How?!?!? How can someone state that an item they read in the media is not being covered by the media? It was OBVIOUSLY in the media if you know about it.

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