Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas turned to a classic movie line while questioning the State Department’s chief diversity and inclusion officer about alleged hiring discrimination Monday.
“What would you say you do around here?” Cruz asked Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley during the hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in U.S. Diplomacy and Development,” using the line from the film “Office Space.”
“What is your job, if not to stop discrimination?” Cruz continued, referencing an email he said was sent by a “senior State Department official” that allegedly outlined who could not be hired, including “straight white men.”
“Unfortunately, I believe what your job in practice is, is encouraging this discrimination,” he said.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Abercombie-Winstanley said of the email. She also denied that such discrimination took place at the State Department.
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The State Department released an equity action plan in April which included embedding “intersectional equity principles into diversifying public diplomacy and communications strategies and expand recruitment for programming and exchange opportunities to focus on underserved communities.”