A hearing for the Senate Banking Committee should be a fairly drama-free affair unless you’ve got a senator like Republican John Kennedy on hand ready to embarrass himself with some tasteless remarks, which is exactly what happened earlier today.
Kennedy shocked a room full of lawmakers and members of the press while questioning Saule Omarova, Joe Biden’s appointee to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Omarova is a law professor at Cornell University who previously served under the George W. Bush administration, but her nomination has angered some GOP members like Kennedy who seem more concerned with her childhood than her track record. Omarova was born in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan before she came to the States and became an American citizen. She’s also been critical of the U.S. banking system. Apparently, those two facts seem to be enough for Senator Kennedy to insult her during what should’ve been a routine hearing.
“I don’t mean any disrespect,” Kennedy began. “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
Sen. John Kennedy implies that Russian-born Saule Omarova is a "communist" because she was born in Russia.
In 2018, Kennedy spent the 4th of July in Moscow meeting with Kremlin officials as Russia continued attacking U.S. elections as in 2016 when Putin worked to help Trump win. https://t.co/CMw8SXP0Jr
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) November 18, 2021
The insinuation came after Kennedy spent an inordinate amount of time questioning why Omarova was part of a communist youth group when she lived in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan — because she was living under a communist regime that forced her to, obviously — and was met with audible gasps by those in the room. Unfortunately for Kennedy, Omarova took the opportunity to calmly mop the floor with him.
“Senator, I’m not a communist,” a visibly annoyed Omarova responded. “I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born. I would never knowingly join any such group.”