Tags: Trump Administration | karl ottosen | norway | ambassadors

Conservatives Back Karl Ottosen for US Ambassador to Norway

oslo norway
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Tuesday, 17 December 2019 06:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Recent televised testimony by Oregon "establishment Republican" and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland as well as that of several career ambassadors fueled complaints from conservatives that President Donald Trump has named to key U.S. embassies too many who actually dislike him and too few who are true supporters.

In recent weeks, however, the surprise opening to be U.S. ambassador to Norway has given conservatives an opportunity to push hard for the appointment of one of their own to an obscure-but-important diplomatic post.

With the surprise departure last month of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and the resulting nomination of Kenneth J. Braithwaite to replace him, Braithwaite's position as ambassador to Norway unexpectedly became open.

Why not, many conservatives immediately exclaimed, make Norwegian-American entrepreneur Karl Ottosen our man in Oslo?

Ottosen, a familiar fixture among conservatives, is known as a successful businessman and a winning political consultant. He helped launch the initial races of 1982 New York gubernatorial hopeful and conservative hero Lewis Lehrman, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. (when he made his first race for the House in 1996), and others.

As a private consultant, Ottosen has been a key player in such conservative organizations as the Media Research Center.

More importantly to some, Ottosen's father was a Norwegian who served in his country's Merchant Marines and, in his son's words, "got dropped off here and stayed." Karl Ottosen makes an annual trip to the land of his ancestors.

Reached at his home by Newsmax, Ottosen, 69, admitted he was "very interested" in serving as ambassador if President Trump should offer him the position.

"Norway is an important country, even though it's pretty low-profile on the international scene," he told us. "The Norwegians have been a staunch U.S. ally in Afghanistan and a founding Member of NATO. It's a country Americans should know about and be close to."

Supporters of Ottosen say his record of working for different brands of Republicans would be an asset in working with the disparate parties and factions in the Norwegian parliament.

Although Ottosen is a well-liked figure among conservatives, he has also overseen the campaigns of more moderate and even liberal Republicans. He was campaign manager for former Sen. Al D'Amato, R.-N.Y., during his first winning Senate race in 1980, while in 1986 he oversaw the re-election triumph of the late liberal Republican Rep. Bill Green over millionaire Democrat Andrew Stein in Manhattan.

"I told my fellow conservatives Bill was the one Republican who could win in Manhattan," he recalled.

Asked if he speaks the Norwegian language, Ottosen replied: "Not enough to be conversant, but enough to understand and listen. And that's the most important thing an ambassador can do."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The surprise opening to be U.S. ambassador to Norway has given conservatives an opportunity to push hard for the appointment of one of their own to an obscure-but-important diplomatic post.
karl ottosen, norway, ambassadors
469
2019-10-17
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 06:10 AM
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