Rep .Curt Clawson (R-Fla.), a freshman U.S. Congressman, is getting a taste of viral fame for all the wrong reasons.
In a painfully awkward moment at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, Clawson apparently mistook two dark-skinned senior U.S. government officials for foreign representatives of the Indian government.
“I’m 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 into one,” Clawson 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 and there to be freedom of capital so that both sides are on the same territory,” he continued. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”
As Clawson smiled at who he believed were foreign representatives, a moment of severely awkward silence took over the room. Finally, one of the government officials responded.
“I think your question is to the Indian government. We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S,” Nisha Biswal, a senior official at the State Department, replied.
The other official, Arun Kumar, holds a senior position at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As seen in the photo above, Kumar appears to have been highly amused by Clawson’s embarrassing faux pas.
Watch the video via Foreign Policy: