President Obama's pick to be U.S. Ambassador to Norway George Tsunis made several incorrect statements on basic facts about the Norwegian government during a Senate confirmation hearing last week.
Tsunis made multiple misstatements to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that flummoxed members of the committee, especially Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), according to Yahoo! News.
To recap: Tsunis described Norway as having a president ("apparently under the impression that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy," as the Local Norway's News notes dryly). And he characterized the anti-immigration Progress Party as being among "fringe elements" who "spew their hatred" and have been denounced by the government.
That prompted McCain’s disbelieving answer: "The government has denounced them? The coalition government — they're part of the coalition of the government."
McCain, already flummoxed by the apparent inability of Obama’s choice to be ambassador to Hungary to list strategic U.S. interests there, closed his questioning with a bit of sarcasm: "I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees."
A Norwegian news website said Tsunis "displays total ignorance of Norway."
Tsunis, the CEO of Hartwell Hotels, raised $988,550 for Obama, gave $300,000 to Democratic Super PACs, and gave $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012. He and his wife were guests at a State Dinner the Obamas threw in 2012 to honor British Prime Minister David Cameron.