US Russia Ambassador Huntsman refuses calls to resign

Jon Huntsman, US ambassador to Russia, is apparently one of the few top officials in the state department who refuses to play politics with the nation's foreign policy. Citing the "world's most dangerous relationship" between the US and Russia, Huntsman refused a call to resign his post that appeared in his family's own newspaper.

The Hill:

Huntman's family-owned newspaper ran a column urging him to step down after President Trump’s joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the piece published in The Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by Hunstman’s brother, Huntsman said that he would stay on the job after conducting “an unscientific survey among my colleagues” and asking his own naval officer sons if he should resign.

“The laughter told me everything I needed to know,” the ambassador and former Utah governor wrote. “It also underscores the fragile nature of this moment.”

His sons' response, he said, was "unprintable."

Huntsman also wrote that he has “been around politics long enough to understand the moment we face and the legitimate arguments on all sides.”

Writer Robert Gehrke had called for Huntsman to resign in a column published in the same newspaper on Tuesday, saying the ambassador works “for a pawn, not a president.”

His column ran one day after Trump sided with Putin’s denials of Russian election interference during Monday's controversial press conference. Trump later walked back the comments.

In his column, Huntsman also cited his hundreds of colleagues who work in Russia, saying they “have neither the time nor inclination to obsess over politics, though the issues of the day are felt by all.”

“Their focus is on the work that needs to be done to stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world, one that encompasses nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism, stopping bloodshed in Ukraine, and seeking a settlement of the seemingly intractable Syrian crisis,” Huntsman wrote. “Their dedication to service to their country is above politics, and it inspires me to the core. It is my standard.”

It's no secret Huntsman is not a huge fan of Donald Trump. He has criticized him numerous times in the past. But give credit to both men that they were able to move beyond the politics of the moment to forge a relationship that many experts believe is good for the country.

Huntsman's response gives us cause to wonder; why can't all state department employees put politics aside and serve the president? Trump has roiled the foreign policy establishment, that's certain. But just who are these state department officials supposed to be loyal to? The establishment or the president?

You can disagree with the president, as I'm sure Huntsman does, without damaging the prestige of the office of president by grandiosly announcing your resignation. That may play at the New York Times and upper east side salons where liberals congratulate themselves for "speaking truth to power."

But in the practical world of working to advance the interests of the United States, it's selfish, stupid, and shallow.


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