Ambassadorial Tweet Denounced as 'Deeply Offensive' Skip to content

Ambassadorial Tweet Denounced as ‘Deeply Offensive’

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: US Embassy Reykjavik Iceland, Facebook.

US Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter drew the ire of American nationals and Icelanders alike when he retweeted a presidential tweet that referred to COVID-19 as the “Invisible China Virus.” A petition demanding that the ambassador issue an apology to the people of Iceland has since received over 300 signatures.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus,” wrote President Trump in his July 20 tweet. Ambassador Gunter copied the exact same phrasing to describe COVID-19 when he retweeted it from his official ambassadorial Twitter account.

The tweet garnered a great deal of criticism, with commenters variously remarking “This won’t fly in Iceland,” and “Calling the Covid-19 virus ‘China virus’ is extremely ethnocentric,” and “Viruses do not have nationalities.”

Following the tweet, Elizabeth Lay, an American living in Iceland, started a petition denouncing the name “Invisible China Virus” as “deeply offensive and hurtful.” The petition continues: “The name, given by Trump, perpetuates racism and does not represent the viewpoint of the majority of Americans and Icelanders, nor does it represent the spirit of America.”

“We denounce Ambassador Gunter’s racist and divisive remarks in a time when unity is needed and demand that he apologize to the people of Iceland.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!