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Congresswomen slam Zinke for his response to Hanabusa


    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifies before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is drawing criticism for his use of a Japanese greeting when responding to a question from a congresswoman of Japanese descent.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, asked Zinke on Thursday whether he would continue a program that preserves sites where Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II.

Zinke replied using a Japanese greeting typically spoken in the afternoon. The Democratic congresswoman corrected him and used the Japanese phrase for good morning.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., says Zinke responded to Hanabusa as if she didn’t speak English. Fellow Democrat Grace Meng of New York called Zinke’s remark insensitive.

President Donald Trump’s budget does not include the funding. Zinke thinks that was an oversight.

A message seeking comment from the Interior Department was not immediately returned.

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