German MPs in racist debacle
mchawk | August 20, 2008 at 04:03 amby
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Der Spiegel has received a confidential letter from the German consul in San Francisco, to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, saying the visitors' behaviour ranged from “unacceptable to devious.“
Beside apparently wanting the official trip to leave plenty of free time for sightseeing and shopping, the MPs cancelled a meeting with US officials in the Californian capital Sacramento at the last minute because they felt they had better things to do. Der Spiegel reported that the consulate was forced to lie to the Americans to save face.
Two MPs were taken to task in particular: Annette Widmann-Mauz, a Christian Democrat in Baden-Württemberg, and Randolph Krüger, a Social Democrat from Potsdam.
Because Widmann-Mauz had broken her foot before the trip, the parliamentarians had demanded a wheelchair for her, but the consulate apparently provided one that wasn’t acceptable to the MPs.
"It was a chair for the sick with small wheels, the kind like from old US movies," said Widmann-Mauz.
Because she couldn’t move around on her own, Krüger reportedly said: “We need a negro who can push the wheelchair.”
[Krüger] also had nothing good to say about the German officials in San Francisco, who didn’t live up to his expectations. “The people from the consulate are apparently used to pulling drunken tourists out of a jail cell, but don’t know what service they should provide for Bundestag parliamentarians,” he said.
In another incident at the end of the trip, the Christian Democrat MP Hubert Hüppe demanded to be be chauffeured to the airport because, he claimed, he could "barely speak English". However, on arriving at the check-in desk before departure, he reportedly used fluent English to demand an upgrade to first class.
Such behaviour is hardly conducive to bettering international relations, and I'm sure that the German people are thrilled to know that their taxes are paying for overseas shopping-trips. Clearly, these Parliamentarians need to stay behind after class and learn some manners.
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