The U.S. ambassador to Iceland, a dermatologist, and a major Republican donor, reportedly became so paranoid about his safety that he was asked to carry a gun and be carried everywhere in an armored car.
Despite particular security concerns, the embassy in Reykjavik has announced in the local press bodyguards seeking to appoint Ambassador Jeffrey Ross Gunter.
The alleged antiquities of Gunter are not isolated cases. A record portion of Donald Trump’s ambassador appointments were political, mostly rewarding big-money donors, and his candidates often stood out for lack of qualifications or talent.
A report by the Senate Democrats on Tuesday on the current situation in the state department, titled “Diplomacy in a Crisis,” says: “While it is true that every administration has its share of dubious appointments, Trump’s administration decisions have gone beyond a blur. , jeopardizing the department ̵6;s ability to defend the interests of our nation. “
Since his appointment in 2019. In May, Gunter found it difficult to work with him. He survived seven Deputy Chiefs of Mission (DCMs) – career diplomats who run the embassy every day. According to CBS News, he dismissed his first deputy, who had spent several months learning Icelandic because he “didn’t like his gaze” at the introductory meeting.
Gunter is also reported to have refused to return to the post after February. At a conference in Washington, he said he could do the job remotely, and in May, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s call, he was persuaded only to Reykjavik.
The State Department said Gunter’s return was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CBS reported that it had persuaded Gunter not to make a formal request for a firearm to the Icelandic authorities, which have very strict firearms laws.
In response to a CBS report, Gunter issued a statement to the Icelandic press, saying: “Our focus at the US Embassy remains where it has always been – to strengthen US-Iceland bilateral relations, which bring many benefits to both of our great nations. . It is a great honor for me to lead our team during this successful period of appreciation and respect for the United States and Iceland. ”
Asked about the ambassador’s concerns about personal safety, a state department spokesman said: “Our management security programs are standard features on most U.S. facilities around the world. We continue to have a very close working relationship with the Icelandic authorities on security and other issues. “
Gunter is far from being the only wealthy diplomat of D. Trump who stands out for his eccentricity. Ambassador UK Woody Johnson, a supporter of billionaire Trump, was investigated by the Inspector General’s State Department (dismissed before the Inspector General in May) for racist and sexist remarks.
Johnson is reportedly opposed in 2018. Black History Month events are taking place, asking his assistants if he will address “a whole bunch of blacks.” He was also reported to have held a number of official roles at London’s men’s clubs in London.
Johnson dismissed the allegations. He wrote on Twitter: “I kept following the rules of ethics and the requirements of my office. These false statements about insensitive remarks about race and gender are completely out of line with my old records and values. “
Lewis Lukens, a former DCM spokesman for Johnson, claimed in December that the ambassador had fired him because he mentioned Barack Obama in a speech to British university students.
Lana Marks was a handbag designer and a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club before accepting her ambassador to South Africa, where she also expelled her DCM, without worrying about her seeking to introduce her son to a senior embassy. , after tweeting her as “Chief of Staff”, which she later deleted.
Marx told Foreign Policy that she removed her DCM, David Young, because “our management styles were completely different” and the aim was to get him a higher job elsewhere. U.S. officials said there was no connection between Young’s departure and Marx’s son.
“The pace of DCM removal and the reasons for its removal have caused concern,” the Senate Democrat said in a statement. “During the process, the department lost significant institutional knowledge and extensive experience.”
The report includes a litany of cases from unqualified or uninvited diplomatic candidates. She cites the recent example of Mina Chang, who became an assistant administrator to the U.S. Agency for International Development, overseeing a billion-dollar budget and a thousand employees, despite minimal experience and allegedly supplementing her resume with exaggerated career reports. , claiming to have served on a UN commission that was not. There was even a fake cover of Time magazine about her accomplishments.
Chang resigned, but denied the allegations made against her. She said the covers of Laiko were made by an enthusiastic supporter, although Chang did not correct the interlocutor, who in 2017. Presented it as an example of his achievements.
Christine Toretti, appointed in 2018. May. Acting Ambassador to Malta, 2008 He was restrained for “placing a bullet-targeted target in a former man’s doctor’s office.”
Ronald Neumann, head of the American Academy of Diplomacy and former deputy secretary of state, said Trump’s diplomatic record “was slightly above the norm and I think it went beyond the norm with poor quality from political appointments.”
Of the 189 U.S. ambassadors, only three are currently held by African Americans, the American Foreign Service Association reports. The growing share of key jobs for Trump donors has also helped to eliminate career opportunities in general and encouraged the departure of aspiring diplomats.
According to a report by Senate Democrats, from 2017 July. Until 2018. June 722 part-time and off-season employees left the State Department, ie about 7% of the total staff.
A spokesman for the State Department rejected widespread reports of low morale, using one of Pompeo’s favorite words.
“The State Department freak is completely backwards,” a spokesman said. “From day one, Secretary Pompeo introduced the interests and values of the American people, both at home and around the world.”