Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson's comment that the island nation of Guam will “capsize,” quickly became an Internet sensation earlier this week. On Thursday, the congressman said he was merely using subtle humor to express a point of view.
“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” said Johnson to Admiral Robert Willard at the House Armed Services Committee meeting on March 25.
Willard, with what appeared to be a smile, responded, “We don't anticipate that,” adding that Guam has over a hundred thousand people.
Johnson's video-taped blunder was subsequently uploaded to YouTube and played on several radio stations.
Johnson was concerned that relocating several thousand marine troops could possibly be problematic for the small island nation. Guam may not be able to hold several thousand more people, because it is “24 miles long and about seven miles wide at the least widest place and about 12 miles on the widest part of the island,” he said.
On Thursday, the congressman said that he was merely being funny and used the “capsize” term in a metaphorical sense.
"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 in a statement.
After the “capsize” remark, Johnson expressed concern that relocating the marines may cause ecological harm to Guam, which is a U.S. territory.
As of Friday evening, over 1.3 million people have watched two of the videos on YouTube, both uploaded on Wednesday and Thursday.