LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A comment made Thursday by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo is drawing criticism that he was talking down to the U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm at an event announcing $2 billion in funding for a Nevada company.

“Let’s give a round of applause to the secretary there. She gave me a good science lesson,” Lombardo begins.

“Do you actually understand that science, or did you just memorize that?” Lombardo says, followed by dead silence from the crowd.

Granholm mentioned Lombardo’s comment in a tweet following the event: “Big words can be intimidating, I understand. All the Governor needs to know is that $2 BILLION and thousands of good-paying jobs are coming to Nevada thanks to @POTUS.”

A tweet by Politico on Friday criticizes Lombardo’s remark as a “pretty-little-lady’s welcome” from the governor.

The governor’s office released a statement Friday afternoon:

People who know Joe Lombardo are familiar with his self-deprecating sense of humor. Of course, it was a joke. And one at his own expense. Regardless, the Governor remains focused on welcoming new investment in Nevada and keeping our state open for business.

Elizabeth Ray, Communications Director for Governor Lombardo

Redwood Materials, a recycling venture founded by the former chief technology officer at Tesla, secured a conditional loan from the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which helped Tesla more than a decade ago. Granholm toured Redwood’s facility in Nevada with Lombardo on Thursday.

“One more thing about @RedwoodMat in NV: they recover over 90% of the critical materials in used batteries—cobalt, lithium, nickel, etc—which are then recycled in new EV batteries. No shipping to China for processing. No waste. A circular economy, made in America,” Granholm tweeted.