U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Scott Brown on Wednesday admitted he was under investigation by the State Department for inappropriate comments.
Brown noted that during a Peace Corps event in Samoa last July he told attendees they looked “beautiful” and that they should work in America’s hospitality industry.
“Through rumor and innuendo, Gail and I have heard there’s an inquiry about my conduct while I was in Samoa,” he told Stuff alongside his wife Gail Huff.
“When we walked into the Peace Corp event we walked in and there was a receiving line and prior to walking they were all like dirty and grungy,” Brown recalled. “We walked in and everyone was dressed to the nines.”
“They all looked great, Gail looked great, you know I was dressed up and Gail and I both walked in and said, ‘You guys are beautiful, you look really handsome sir, you guys are great,’” he continued.
“And apparently somebody took offense to that. Fine, I did say it. Gail and I did say it absolutely.”
Brown noted that the State Department’s inquiry concluded with a warning to him to behave with more cultural sensitivity.
“As a result of that I was told that, ‘you know, listen, you’re not Scott Brown from Ryan, New Hampshire any more,’” he said.
“’You’re an ambassador and you have to be culturally aware of different cultures, and different sensitivities and I’m always welcoming that kind of advice,” the former GOP Senator for Massachusetts added.
Brown, who was one of President Trump’s earliest diplomatic appointments, additionally suggested that the complaint may have been politically motivated.
“At this event were a lot of people that didn’t like [President Trump],” he said. “Sadly it’s politics and it is what it is.”
Stuff reported that the State Department sent investigators to Wellington, New Zealand to interview people who attended last month’s dinner in Samoa, including Brown.
The Senate confirmed Brown as ambassador to New Zealand in June and he arrived in Wellington later that month.