As Icelandic politicians across the political spectrum condemned yesterday’s insurrection at the US Capitol building, both the US embassy and US Ambassador Jeffrey Ross Gunter have thus far been all but silent on the matter.
Icelandic politicians from Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who is also the chair of the Left-Green Party, as well as conservative politicians such as Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir condemned yesterday’s actions, which resulted in three deaths, multiple injuries, and the temporary delay of Congressional approval of the Electoral College votes for US President-elect Joe Biden and US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Gunnlaugsson also condemned the Capitol riots, and condemned outgoing US President Donald Trump’s behaviour yesterday as “deeply shameful”.
As even hardline supporters of Trump in Congress have gone on record condemning the event and blaming Trump for instigating it, strangely absent in all this is any sort of message from the US embassy in Reykjavík, or US Ambassador Jeffrey Ross Gunter. At the time of this writing, no statement has yet been issued on the embassy’s Facebook page nor their official site, nor from its Twitter account.
While this is probably explained by the current State Department issued social media lockdown, social media is not the only avenue through which official statements can be given. The media have not reported receiving any press release from these US officials in Iceland about the day’s events yet.
The only official acknowledgement of the capitol riots from US officials in Iceland, at the time of this writing, has been the ambassador re-tweeting a statement from outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who did condemn the riots, but interestingly did not assign any blame, in whole or in part, to Trump.
It is not exactly like the ambassador is normally shy about expressing himself. Last October, the US embassy accused Icelandic media of spreading “fake news” after news was reported that the coronavirus has made its way into the embassy. On that subject, the ambassador himself has diligently tweeted about “the invisible China virus”. This and other incidents have prompted many Americans in Iceland to call for his removal from office.
All this being the case, it is unusual for the Ambassador to not make a statement in his own words on yesterday’s events—at least, so far.
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