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Trump’s ambassador pick under fire for ‘inappropriate comments’ to woman in Samoa

After the complaint, Scott Brown has received a warning from the state department to be “more culturally aware”.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2017 19:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
US President Donald Trump,Samoa,Scott Brown
File photo of US ambassador to Samoa Scott Brown.(NYT)

US President Donald Trump’s pick for envoy to Samoa has received a warning from the state department to be “more culturally aware” after he made “inappropriate comments” to a woman and several others at an official event.

Scott Brown, who visited Samoa’s capital Apia in July to present his credentials, told people at the event they “looked beautiful”, according to an official complaint. He reportedly also told a woman who was serving food and drinks that she “could make hundreds of dollars in the (US) hospitality industry”.

The state department said its inspector general has looked into the complaints.

“The state department takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we investigate them thoroughly. We hold all employees to the highest standard. The office of inspector general has conducted an independent review of the allegations and reported its findings to the department,” an official was quoted by CNN as saying.

Brown said he did not realise that his comments were offensive, adding that the complaint had come as a “complete surprise”.

In a video posted on New Zealand news site stuff.co.nz, Brown said embassy staff later offered him some advice. “I was told by my people, listen, you’re not Scott Brown from Ryan, New Hampshire anymore, you’re an ambassador and you always have to be aware, culturally aware, of different cultures, different sensitivities,” he said.

He also claimed that while there might have been some cultural differences, there was an element of political motivation behind the complaint. “At this event, there were a lot of people that didn’t like (Trump). Sadly it’s politics and it is what it is,” he says in the video.

Brown, an ex-model, was one of Trump’s earliest supporters and at one time was even reported to be his running mate.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 19:33 IST