After their surprise appearance at a press conference with Donald Trump in New York last week, House Speaker Setya Novanto and the other Indonesian lawmakers that were part of his delegation have faced mounting criticism, particularly from fellow politicians who accused Novanto of a serious breach of ethics for saying something that might have been construed as an endorsement of Trump’s candidacy by Indonesia’s political establishment.
Novanto and another Trump press con attendee, Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon, were forced to attend a meeting of the House Ethics Committee yesterday in order to explain their actions.
It looks like the outcome of the meeting might be bad, because Novanto’s political party, Golkar, is already throwing him under the bus.
Golkar’s House Secretary, Bambang Soesatyo, today acknowledged that Novanto’s appearance at the Trump press conference was a huge mistake and apologized on behalf of the party and the House leader.
“If the wrong things were said or mistakes were made, with all humility we beg forgiveness,” Bambang told Kompas.
Bambang said that the visit was inappropriate since Trump is a candidate in an ongoing political election.
Furthermore, he said Golkar said would not oppose other political parties who wanted to lodge further reports against Novanto and company to the House Ethics Committee.
“It is even more regrettable because Trump is not a positive figure for the Indonesian people. given that he is a gambling kingpin, racist and anti-Islam,” Bambang said.
The Golkar member added that he hoped the Ethics Committee would only give Novanto a verbal warning, but said Golkar would support whatever decision they came to.