Dem rep corrects Zinke after he speaks Japanese in hearing

Rep. Colleen HanabusaColleen Wakako HanabusaHawaii New Members 2019 Ige wins second term as Hawaii governor The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts MORE (D-Hawaii) corrected Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog MORE after he spoke Japanese to her following her question about grant funding for institutions that provide education on Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Hanabusa was questioning Zinke during a House budget hearing about planned cuts to grant programs that fund institutions that focus on the history of Japanese-Americans, particularly during World War II. 

She said the funding is a critical way to learn about what Japanese-Americans went through during the war, since many who were interned don’t speak about it.

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“I believe it is essential that we as a nation recognize our darkest moments so we don’t have them repeat again,” she said, asking Zinke if he’s committed to continuing the $2 million in grant programs.

“Oh, konnichiwa,” Zinke said in response. 

“I think it’s still ‘ohayo gozaimasu’ [good morning], but that’s OK,” Hanabusa said, following a brief silence. 

Zinke told Hanabusa he would look into the funding. 

“I agree with you, it is important,” he said, saying the program may have been caught up in other funding cuts.

Zinke has faced criticism for some of his budget positions, including a plan to raise the fee to enter national parks because he believes too many people get in for free.

Zinke has a contentious relationship with the National Park Service, which led to nine of the 12 advisory board members resigning in January over how they say he treated them.