WASHINGTON, USA (AFP) — The US-China Olympic rivalry heated up in an unfashionable way yesterday when a top US lawmaker suggested burning the US team's outfits for the opening ceremony because they were made in China.
"I'm so upset. I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed of themselves," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters when asked about an ABC News report about the origin of the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms.
"I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them," an outraged Reid added.
"If they have to wear nothing but a symbol that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear."
It was the strongest of reactions about the outfits heard on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have bickered over ways to keep US jobs, including in the textile industry, from heading overseas to low-wage economies like China and India.
"You'd think they'd know better," House Speaker John Boehner said of the fashion kerfuffle during a press briefing.
Irate lawmakers wrote a letter yesterday to US Olympics Committee chairman Lawrence Probst saying it was "shocking and deeply disappointing" to learn of the China-made uniforms.