Icelandic officials have congratulated 46th United States President Joe Biden on his inauguration yesterday. The Prime Minister, President, and Cabinet Ministers of Iceland took to Twitter to send good wishes to President Biden. United States Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter announced yesterday that he is leaving the position, thanking President Trump for the opportunity in a Facebook post that has since been taken down.
Officials Mention Peace and Friendship With US
“Congratulations to President @JoeBiden and Vice President @KamalaHarris on this historic day,” Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir tweeted. “We here in Iceland send you our warmest wishes and I look forward to working with you both towards a sustainable, peaceful, and socially just future.” Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna also referenced a peaceful future in her greeting to the new President and Vice President, tweeting “May the next four years bring peace and unity.”
Iceland’s President and Minister for Foreign Affairs both referenced the nation’s long history of diplomacy with the United States in their tweets to President Biden and Vice President Harris. Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson tweeted: “My heartfelt congratulations on your inauguration @JoeBiden @POTUS and @KamalaHarris. We look forward to work with you and [Secretary of State nominee] @ABlinken on strengthening our longstanding #Transatlantic bond and friendship based on shared democratic values.” As President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson put it, “The United States and Iceland have enjoyed decades of transatlantic relations and a friendship which we look forward to continuing with you.”
Controversial Ambassador Says Goodbye to Iceland
US Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter also posted on Twitter and Facebook yesterday, revealing that he would be leaving his post and thanking President Trump for the “tremendous opportunity.” The posts have since been deleted. Ambassador Gunter became an increasingly controversial figure throughout last year. He was denounced last July for referring to SARS-CoV-2 as the “Invisible China Virus.”
CBS News reported that same month Gunter had applied for special permission to carry a gun. The CBS article also described an increasingly fractured work environment at the US Embassy in Reykjavík. In October of last year, Gunter accused Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið of irresponsible journalism and “fake news” after Fréttablaðið reported that a staff member of the US Embassy had contracted COVID-19.