Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said "konnichiwa" when asked at a Thursday morning congressional hearing about a grant program that funds the preservation of Japanese-American incarceration sites, a remark some lawmakers have called "juvenile" and "outrageous," NBC News reported.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, whose grandfathers were interned during World War II, asked Zinke if he would commit to continuing the grants, and Zinke replied, "Oh, konnichiwa," before going on to answer the question.
"Konnichiwa" means good afternoon, and Hanabusa corrected him by saying, "I think it's still 'ohayo gozaimasu,' but that's OK."
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But other lawmakers were much more critical. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif, called Zinke's way of greeting Hanabusa "outrageous" and demanded he apologize.