Trump’s Russia ambassador says he won’t resign
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman on Saturday responded to a call to resign by saying he wouldn’t.
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.”
He noted that he responded to Gehrke’s call because “I respect you as an opinion writer and therefore feel compelled to respond.”