U.S. ambassador Scott Brown on Wednesday blamed "politics" for an inquiry into his behavior at an event in Samoa where he told guests they looked beautiful and a food server she could make hundreds of dollars in the U.S. service industry.
Brown, the ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, told the New Zealand website Stuff that he heard through "rumor and innuendo" that there was an inquiry into his conduct at the Peace Corps function in July.
"I was in fact told by my people that, listen, you are not Scott Brown from Rye, New Hampshire anymore, you're an ambassador," Brown said in the statement recorded and released by the website. Brown said he was told he must be more "culturally aware of .. different sensitivities."
He said he and wife Gail Huff-Brown met some of the Peace Corps workers hours before a gala and "they were all dirty and kind of grungy." When the couple greeted them at the party, they had cleaned up and were dressed formally. That, he said, led to the first incident.
"Gail and I both walked in and said 'Boy, you look beautiful, you look really handsome, you guys are great.' And apparently someone took offense to that," Brown said. "Fine, I said it, Gail and I both said it."
Later at the party, Brown said he made the "hundreds of dollars" comment to a food server.
"Politics is a bloodsport back home," Brown, a Republican, told the media. "At this event, there were a lot of people that didn't like" President Trump.
Brown, 58, exploded onto the national political scene in 2010 with a stunning upset victory in the race to fill a U.S. Senate seat left open by the death of Edward Kennedy in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts. Two years later, however, Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated Brown in his re-election bid.
Brown then re-established residence in New Hampshire and in 2014 lost a close Senate race to incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.