This is one of the most painful Congressional videos you'll ever see. A freshman Congressman, Curt Clawson, was in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, where two senior US government officials -- one from the State Department and another from the Commerce Department -- were testifying. Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar are both Americans. But apparently Clawson had absolutely no clue -- even though he was in the hearing and both of the panelists were introduced as US officials
. Spotted by Foreign Policy, Clawson was apparently so confused by the color of their skin and their names, that he just assumed they represented the Indian government
. The video is... just painful.
Clawson starts out by talking about how much he loves "your country." He also, apparently, talked about his favorite Bollywood movies. But when he wanted Biswal and Kumar to "commit" to better relationships concerning investment from the US into India, a very, very awkward pause followed. Finally, Biswal says:
"I... I... 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."
In response, Clawson, with a very awkward smile says "Of course! Ok. Let's see some progress!"
We've seen some awkward Congressional testimony situations before, like when a Senator walked into the wrong hearing
and asked an unrelated question for a witness who wasn't there. But that was just reasonably laughed off. Just this morning, we wrote about Rep. John Conyers mid-question epiphany
that his stance on copyright conflicted with his stance on preventing overcriminalization. But Clawson's confusion is really at quite another level of ridiculousness. People make mistakes, of course, but if you're in a Congressional hearing, you should at least know who is testifying and
if you don't know
, you probably shouldn't assume their nationality based on the color of their skin and their names.