Guam Tipping Over Comment No Concern for Guam Officials

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) made news with his comments about Guam. hankjohnson.house.gov

Hank Johnson
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) made news with his comments about Guam.
hankjohnson.house.gov

Officials representing the U.S. territory of Guam aren't concerned by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.)'s remark that Guam may "tip over and capsize" because of a military buildup, but they are troubled by remarks from the Navy admiral who testified before Congress last week, according to Kuam News, a Guam-based news outlet.

Johnson caused a commotion after a video surfaced from a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week in which Johnson said he was concerned that a military buildup on Guam would cause the island to become so overpopulated that it would "capsize."

The congressman released a statement dismissing the ridicule he received for his comment: "The subtle humor of this obviously metaphorical reference to a ship capsizing illustrated my concern about the impact of the planned military buildup on this small tropical island," he said.

Madeleine Bordallo, Guam's delegate in the House, told Kuam News that she understood Johnson's comment was in jest. "I know Congressman Hank Johnson, and I'm sure that -- he's been here to Guam -- so I'm sure that it was just a joke," she said.

Furthermore, Bordallo added, she is not concerned about Congress being ill-informed about the island. Over 50 percent of the Armed Services Committee has been to Guam, she said.

Guam's governor and lieutenant governor, however, take issue with a comment Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, made during the same hearing.

"This is the farthest west U.S. terrority that we own. This is part of our nation," Willard said, explaining why the military chose to send 8,000 more Marines to Guam.

Guam Gov. Felix Camacho thinks Willard owes the people of Guam an apology for saying the United States "owns" Guam, Kuam News reports.

Lt. Gov. Michael Cruz said, "This is not just a base, this is our home. We want to make sure that this home continues to be a home we're all going to want to be a part of and to live in the quality of life that any other American citizen would want."

Watch the video below of Johnson's remarks about Guam from last week:

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.