Seeing red: U.S. Olympic uniforms made in China

With the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics set for July 27, the U.S. Olympic Team’s official uniforms have finally been revealed. And this time around, America will be represented by … China. Clothing-wise, anyway.

The news was greeted with disappointment and condemnation from many Twitterers:

Members of Congress, particularly Democrats, very vocally panned the uniforms as unpatriotic.

“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said when asked by ABC News today, “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”

Reid said today that the U.S. Olympic committee should be “ashamed of themselves,” and “embarrassed,” that the items were made in China, especially with people in the textile industry in America who are looking for jobs.

Some people expressed surprise at finding themselves to be in agreement with Reid:

Reid even found an unlikely sympathizer in The Donald:

Reid’s sentiments were echoed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Steve Israel, and Rep. Sherrod Brown, among others.

“The USOC holds its athletes to a high moral and ethical standard, and has a no tolerance policy for cheating or violating rules,” Sen. Brown writes in his letter to Chairman Probst, “But China continues to cheat when it comes to international trade. As we work to achieve a level playing field for American manufacturers and workers, the USOC should act immediately to find a domestic manufacturer for this year’s uniforms.”

Brown calls for the USOC to enact policies to ensure that America’s athletes wear only clothing that is Made-in-America in the next 2014 games.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing for Hickey Freeman, a Rochester, New York-based clothing company to remake the uniforms, and the company claims it can fill the order in time for the opening ceremony.

Based on the reports we’ve seen thus far, it seems that Republican legislators haven’t had much to say on the issue, outside of John Boehner’s comment that the Olympic Committee should “know better.”

Some Twitterers felt that the controversy over the uniforms is nothing more than a distraction.

The White House, for its part, is refraining from any ruckus-raising.

“Maybe for future Olympics, those kinds of things should be considered,” deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One en route Norfolk, Va., this morning.

“The United States Olympic Committee has said that they are a—they are privately funded.  This isn’t a government decision,” he said.

Earnest suggested President Obama would prefer to see the team outfitted in outfits stamped with “Made in the USA,” noting “the president’s views on the high quality of American-made products is well known. It’s something he talks about extensively.  That includes American-made clothing.”

It’s interesting to note, then, that Ralph Lauren, the uniforms’ designer, is a proud Obama supporter.

Will the president be holding a polo summit with Lauren to discuss their economic conflict of interest?

***

Update:

Reductio ad Bainium strikes again.

So. Much. Facepalmage.

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