US ambassador Scott Brown on Wednesday blamed "politics" for an inquiry into his behavior at an event in Samoa where he told guests they looked attractive and a food server she could make hundreds of dollars in the USA service industry.
Someone complained about the remarks, and Brown said the State Department looked into the allegations.
Brown says he attended the event with his wife on his first day in Samoa and said he'd been complementing the well-dressed guests as they walked in.
"Even though we all speak English, sometimes, you know, when we say one thing, it means the complete different whether it's here in New Zealand or it's in Samoa or other countries", Brown said at an event, video of which was posted online on a New Zealand news site Wednesday.
The "insensitive or inappropriate" comments allegedly involved Brown remarking on the appearance of "beautiful" women and remarks on how much money waitresses could make in America. "I was told by my people, 'Look, you're not Scott Brown from Rye, New Hampshire, anymore; you're an ambassador, '" he said in the video.
New Zealand media report that the State Department sent investigators to Wellington.
That was the extent of the complaints, and the inquiry had concluded with a warning that he should be more culturally aware, Brown said. "Probably not." Gail Huff, his wife, went on to say that both she and her husband would be careful about what they say and how it's perceived.
"And Gail and I both walked in and we both said, 'boy, you guys look really attractive, you look really handsome, sir".
'And apparently somebody took offence to that, ' Brown stated in a video taped portion of the interview.
On Wednesday a spokesperson for the USA embassy in Wellington said: "Ambassador Brown has nothing to add to the comments he made in this afternoon's interview". As for the waitress, he says he was simply noting she was doing a "great job", per the Times.
"I was told by my people, listen, you're not Scott Brown from ... Sadly, it's politics. It is what it is". 'Uhh fine. I did say it, Gail and I both said that, absolutely'. "At this event there were a lot of people [who] didn't like [Trump]", he told Stuff.
When he arrived in New Zealand, Brown said of Trump: "I know him, I like him, I trust him". And I've always appreciated his very direct approach to me.