Norwegians are not happy about the next U.S. ambassador to their country—and for good reason; he’s a top Obama bundler that knows absolutely nothing about Norway, a country he admitted he's never even visited.
Asked by Senator John McCain what he thought it was about the "anti-immigration" Progress Party that appealed to Norwegian voters, Greek American businessman George Tsunis seemed unaware of the party's role in the ruling coalition.
"You get some fringe elements that have a microphone and spew their hatred," he said in the pre-appointment hearing. "And I will tell you Norway has been very quick to denounce them."
McCain interrupted him, pointing out that as part of the coalition, the party was hardly being denounced.
"I stand corrected," Tsunis said after a pause. "I would like to leave my answer at... it's a very,very open society and the overwhelming amount of Norwegians and the overwhelming amount of people in parliament don't feel the same way."
The blunder came after a faltering, incoherent performance from Tsunis, in which he made a reference to Norway's "president", apparently under the impression that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy.
The New York businessman and lawyer donated $50,000 to McCain in 2008 before switching parties and bundling nearly $1 million for the president in 2012. So his performance during the recent Senate confirmation hearing is utterly unsurprising but infuriating nonetheless. Tsunis is glaringly unqualified for this position and didn’t so much as read Norway’s Wikipedia page to know the slightest bit about the country’s history, politics, and culture before the hearing.
“The nomination (of Tsunis) is nothing less than an insult against Norway,” one Norwegian wrote in an online debate on document.no, NewsInEnglish reports. “This makes it clear that the US kisses up to its enemies while it’s condescending towards its friends.”
Money talks, folks, and Harry Reid’s new rules for the Senate mean there’s no possibility of a filibuster, either. Perhaps this is why McCain sarcastically signed off the way he did: “I have no more questions for this incredibly, highly qualified group of nominees.”