Politicians have decided to make a big stink from the fact that the uniforms U.S. athletes will wear in the opening ceremony of the coming London Olympics were made in China. Both Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress came together in a rare burst of partisan unity to blast Ralph Lauren, the designer of the uniforms.
“I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid said.
The uniforms consist of navy blue blazers, white trousers and skirts, and red-accented ties and berets. They cost about $2,000 each.
“We take such pride and they work so hard. They represent the very best and they’re so excellent, it’s all so beautiful,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California. “And they should be wearing uniforms made in America.”
“You’d think they’d know better,” House Speaker John Boehner said, talking about the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Reid, who represents Nevada, a state that has been hit hard by the recession, did the loudest grandstanding, perhaps with the constituents back home in mind.
“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them. And start all over again,” he said. “I hope they wear nothing but a singlet that says ‘USA’ on it painted by hand. We have people in America working in the textile industry who are desperate for jobs.”
In a statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee said Team USA was privately funded and sponsored.
“We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company,” the committee added.
Americans have gotten so accustomed to seeing the “Made in China” tag on seemingly every product and clothing item Americans use, there is unlikely to be the same rise in the public as there was in Washington, D.C.
“Today there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing jobs in this country and the Olympic committee is outsourcing the manufacturing of uniforms to China?” said Steve Israel, a House Democrat. “That is not just outrageous, it’s just plain dumb. It is self-defeating.”