Two of Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-Mass.) best-loved qualities were on
display Tuesday night at the National Building Museum: his razor-sharp
wit, and his occasionally less-than-diplomatic delivery.
Accepting an award from the National Council of La Raza at a black-tie dinner, Frank told the Latino group, “There’s a problem in this country with bilingualism. And the problem is that not enough of us are [bilingual].”
Frank recalled a former South Korean ambassador who visited him in his office. “On his way out, he said to my foreign policy assistant, ‘The congressman is very interesting, what’s his native language?’
“We haven’t figured that out yet.”
Frank also took a witty jab at certain anti-immigration arguments. “Lazy people don’t immigrate. I mean, who gets up and goes to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and they don’t have any contacts?
“The lazy people stayed home!” he exclaimed. “I don’t mean to be critical of them, but since they stayed home.”
The Boston Red Sox fan likened people trying to get into the U.S. to baseball, saying that “it’s almost like [America is] playing baseball against the rest of the world, and we kept getting first pick!’