Florida Rep. Curt Clawson thinks U.S. officials are from India

Florida Congressman Curtis Clawson is probably not having a great day. The Republican from the Sunshine State’s 19th congressional district mistakenly assumed that a group of U.S. government employees were Indian government officials on a diplomatic visit to Washington.

“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,” Clawson said to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, officials from the State and Commerce departments, respectively.

Clawson’s flub was made during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on Thursday. Foreign Policy published video of the cringe-worthy exchange, which ends with Biswal telling Clawson, “I think your question is to the Indian government.”

Clawson does not have an official Twitter account, and he did not respond to Foreign Policy’s requests for comment.

When it was his turn to talk, Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) quickly drove home the point that Biswal and Kumar worked for the U.S. government, telling them, “Thank you both for your service to our country, it’s very much appreciated.”

Reactions to Clawson’s awkward mistake were predictably biting:

And here’s the kicker:

Screenshot via Foreign Policy/Vimeo

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.