Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) exposed a bumbling nominee as the next U.S. ambassador to Norway during a hearing in the Senate on Thursday.
In what a Norway website described as a “jaw-dropping diplomatic blunder,” Obama nominee George J. Tsunis incorrectly referred to the country, a constitutional monarchy, as having a “president” and called the country’s anti-immigration Progress Party as a “fringe” element opposed to the government.
“You get some fringe elements that have a microphone and spew their hatred,” he said in the hearing, as quoted by the Local. “And I will tell you Norway has been very quick to denounce them.”
“The government has denounced them? The coalition government — they’re part of the coalition of the government,” McCain shot back.
“I stand corrected,” Tsunis responded. “I would like to leave my answer at… it’s a very, very open society and the overwhelming amount of Norwegians and the overwhelming amount of people in parliament don’t feel the same way.”
Tsunis, the founder and CEO of Chartwell Hotels, was a top Obama donor in the 2012 election cycle. He and his wife raised $988,550 for President Obama’s campaign, according to Yahoo News‘ Olivier Knox. He also gave $300,000 to Democratic super PACs and $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund.