WASHINGTON -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called Asia “the Orient” while speaking on the Senate floor late Tuesday -- an outdated term considered offensive to Asians.
Hatch and fellow senators were discussing how to proceed after Senate Democrats torpedoed the fast-track trade bill, which he had championed. Hatch chairs the Senate Finance Committee. He and President Barack Obama struck a deal with Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to get Democratic votes, only to have Wyden and other Democrats pull their support.
"I believe there are honest, good people on that side of the aisle who want to make this right and make up for what happened here today," Hatch said. "And I sure hope it's so because, my gosh, to put this nation's foreign policy -- especially in the Orient in particular -- to put it on hold when we could be building relationships in these countries like never before and at the same time, spurring on international trade like never before ... It's a matter of great concern to me.
Hatch is not the first politician to use the term. Vice President Joe Biden called the late Singaporean president Lee Kwan Yew “the wisest man in the Orient” in a speech in September. Biden made the remarks hours after apologizing for using an anti-Semitic term in another speech.
Watch Hatch make his remarks above.