US lawmaker wants China-made Olympic outfits burned
WASHINGTON—The US-China Olympic rivalry heated up in an unfashionable way Thursday when a top US lawmaker suggested burning the US team’s outfits for the opening ceremony because they were made in China.
“I’m so upset. I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed of themselves,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters when asked about an ABC News report about the origin of the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms.
“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them,” an outraged Reid added.
“If they have to wear nothing but a symbol that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”
It was the strongest of reactions about the outfits heard on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have bickered over ways to keep US jobs, including in the textile industry, from heading overseas to low-wage economies like China and India.
“You’d think they’d know better,” House Speaker John Boehner said of the fashion kerfuffle during a press briefing.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi also sounded a note of disappointment.
“We take great pride in our Olympic athletes,” Pelosi said.
“They represent the very best, and they’re so excellent,” she said.
“It’s all so beautiful, and they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America.”
Irate lawmakers wrote a letter Thursday to US Olympics Committee chairman Lawrence Probst saying it was “shocking and deeply disappointing” to learn of the China-made uniforms, and calling on the committee to take steps to ensure such an “embarrassment” never happens again.
“We have enormous pride in all of our Olympic athletes and want to ensure they are displaying the same pride we have in our American workers when competing on the world stage,” congressman Steve Israel and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote.