Led by U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Erik Paulsen, all eight members of Minnesota’s congressional House delegation have signed a letter to President Obama, requesting that he withdraw the nomination of New York businessman George Tsunis to be ambassador to Norway.
“Mr. President, we believe that you would serve the Norwegian-American community well by withdrawing Mr. Tsuni’s name and nominating somebody that will help our relationship continue to grow and thrive,” the letter reads.
Minnesota is home to the largest Norwegian-American population in the United States and both the state’s U.S. senators – Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar -- also oppose Obama's nominee to fill a post that has been vacant since the fall.
Tsunis was nominated for the diplomatic post nine months ago.
While testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Tsunis “exhibited an embarrassing lack of knowledge of Norway including admitting he has never visited the country, insulting part of the coalition government, and being unable to answer even a basic question about new opportunities for cooperation between our two countries,” the letter reads.
“Mr. Tsunis further demonstrated this ignorance by believing that Norway, as a monarchy, has a president. His ill-informed comments deeply offended several Norwegian officials and have caused many to doubt his ability to serve as an effective ambassador.”