July and August can be dreadful months in Washington, weather-wise, so it is no wonder people are eager to leave the Nation's Capital, even those who are in Congress and Congress is in session. Of course, Congress was in recess over the Independence Day holiday, so finding Faleomavaega back home was not especially unusual, since it is an election year, after all. He returned to Washington but soon was home again because, ev
July and August can be dreadful months in Washington, weather-wise, so it is no wonder people are eager to leave the Nation's Capital, even those who are in Congress and Congress is in session. Of course, Congress was in recess over the Independence Day holiday, so finding Faleomavaega back home was not especially unusual, since it is an election year, after all. He returned to Washington but soon was home again because, even though Congress again was in session, it was no surprise to find Eni on hand for the opening of the Pacific Arts Festival, given his long involvement in regional affairs.
Moreover, his penchant for travel even while Congress is in session and his position as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment virtually dictated he would be near all the action at a time all the region would be represented in American Samoa at a major Pacific event during which U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice would be holding a summit with Pacific foreign ministers in nearby Apia and the King of Tonga would be crowned in nearby Nuku’alofa.
It was shocking, then, when there were no press releases out of Eni about his involvement in either the summit or the coronation. Instead he surfaced back in
This happened once before when the Speaker did not approve his request to travel back to
It all became clear when reliable sources revealed that Eni and his chief enforcer, Lisa Williams, demanded a speaking role for him at the summit and, when the State Department refused to let him speak, he chose to boycott the meeting. The good news is that, unlike 1990, when he was not invited at all to participate in President Bush 41’s historic summit with island heads of government in
Perhaps Eni would have been able to speak if Lisa Williams had not played hardball, once again overplaying her hand (the woman ranks right up there with Saddam Hussein when it comes to miscalculations), but the State Department also is well aware of Eni’s well-deserved reputation (among Republicans and Democrats) as a “loose cannon” and likely was not prepared in any event to give him a platform to make unscripted remarks that might embarrass either Secretary Rice personally or the U.S. in general.
After all, they have a file drawer full of statements he has made over the years attacking his own government, even when standing on foreign soil. Those outbursts may have played well in the media but not in Foggy Bottom. And there still are a lot of people around who remember how Eni held 10 heads of Pacific governments and 400 or so other people virtually hostage last year in the National Geographic Auditorium to listen to him and a variety of Washington politicians he corraled give long winded speeches prior to the annual Pacific Night reception. Yes, likely it was payback time.
Yet, why did he go back to
The gavel adjourning the House had yet to bang before Eni was in the air back to Asia once again, this time to Hong Kong, where he personally delivered birthday greetings from 20 members of Congress to Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing. Just last year at Mr. Li’s invitation, Eni spoke at the privately funded
Now it’s off to where? The summit is over, the coronation concluded yesterday and the last of the Arts Festival participants leave
Why back to
He also has said he will be traveling to
But his travels over the three weeks between