Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is hopping mad over the revelation that Team U.S.A.’s Olympics uniforms were manufactured in China. Although countless media outlets have derided Ralph Lauren’s opening ceremonies outfits for their over-the-top Hamptons yacht party aesthetic, not to mention those “too French” berets, U.S. lawmakers stewed over a much larger disconnect. “I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Reid told ABC News. “If they have to wear nothing but a symbol that says U.S.A. on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”
The U.S. Olympic committee should be “ashamed of themselves” and “embarrassed” that the items were made in China, particularly when the local textile industry is hurting for jobs, Reid said on Thursday. He wasn’t the only person on Capitol Hill who expressed the sentiment. Echoed by other officials, Reid’s frustration presented a rare moment of bipartisan accord.
U.S. lawmakers are outraged that the uniforms did nothing to help the country’s dismal unemployment rates.
“You’d think they know better,” Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH.) told ABC News. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that Olympic athletes should wear uniforms made in America because they represent the very best in America. “They work so hard,” she said. “They represent the very best, and they’re so excellent. It’s all so beautiful. And they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America.”
This morning, Representative Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), wrote a letter to Lawrence Probst, chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, calling for all future U.S. Olympics uniforms to be made in the United States.
“We are asking that the Committee and its Board of Directors take immediate steps to guarantee that this embarrassment does not happen again by voting that any future contracts for Olympic uniforms are made in America,” Gillibrand and Israel wrote in their letter, “This would ensure that U.S. Olympians are supporting American jobs. As American fans cheer for our Olympians, we should also be cheering for the American manufacturers and laborers reflected in the red, white, and blue on their uniforms.”