— Domani Spero
We didn’t know that Minnesota has the largest Norwegian-American population in the United States. Apparently, it is also home to major Norwegian groups like the Sons of Norway International. According to MinnPost, days after George Tsunis, the nominee to be ambassador to Norway bungled his appearance at his SFRC confirmation hearing, a group of Minnesotans took up the cause of preventing the hotel magnate from getting the assignment. Twin Cities attorney T. Michael Davis has organized a campaign to either win Norway a new nominee, or, if that does not work, see that the Senate votes down Tsunis’ appointment.
We want the American citizens to have a qualified ambassador in Oslo, and we want the government in Oslo to be dealing with a qualified ambassador,” said Davis, a member of the state’s Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce. “This is just basic common sense.”
Davis and his allies have penned a Star Tribune op-ed on February 12, pushing for the Senate not to approve this nominee (See Obama-Tsunis: Selection for ambassador to Norway cannot stand):
“In a time of hyperpartisanship in Congress — and extreme voter fatigue with respect to party-line loyalties, a bipartisan Nordic community has always had greater hopes and expectations. We, thus, ask our senators to encourage President Obama to withdraw the Tsunis nomination or, barring such, we ask them to work hard in coming days to convince key Senate colleagues to act in the nonpartisan interests of the United States and its taxpayers, and in the interest of our valued ties with Norway, and unanimously reject the nomination of George J. Tsunis.”
Mr. Davis reportedly also wrote White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough directly about the nomination, and he and his allies have been making lots of noises in the Senate.
An online petition at charge.org has also been launched by Tom Lundquist asking for President Obama “to withdraw the Tsunis nomination or, alternatively, that the Senate act in the interests of the U.S., taxpayers, and ties with Norway, thus, rejecting the nomination.” The petition has 308 supporters as of this writing with 192 signatures still needed.
It’s hard to say if these efforts would derail the confirmation of Mr. Tsunis as the next ambassador to Norway. On February 4, Mr. Tsunis got one step closer to becoming ambassador when the SFRC endorsed his nomination. The last step in the process is the final vote by the full Senate.
There is, of course, a logjam of nominees over there. Some have been waiting since January for their confirmation votes. Given that the votes for these nominations are going in stops and spurts these days, it is likely that Mr. Tsunis’ nomination will be in the waiting line for a while. However, we are guessing that the nomination will squeak by quietly in late spring or early summer when we’re all busy with summer vacations and whatnots.
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- Watch what happens when Obama picks a top donor as ambassador (news.yahoo.com)
- Senate panel approves Tsunis’ Norway nomination, amid dissent (newsday.com)
- Obama should skip the patronage and nominate quality ambassadors: Editorial (nj.com)
- US Embassy Oslo: Clueless on Norway, Murder Boards Next? (diplopundit.net)
- Norway Is Shocked That Our Ambassador Nominee Is Clueless About Norway (thewire.com)
- 5 Most Cringe-Worthy Blunders From Obama’s Ambassador Nominees (abcnews.go.com)