Tags: Bell | McCain | Hungary

Firestorm Erupts Over Obama's Pick for Hungary Ambassador

Firestorm Erupts Over Obama's Pick for Hungary Ambassador
Soap opera producer Colleen Bell. (Sean Smith/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 December 2014 02:53 PM

Soap opera producer Colleen Bell is likely to find that diplomatic life can be neither bold nor beautiful when she arrives in Budapest as the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, where her appointment has already created an international dispute.

An outraged Hungarian government Wednesday demanded that the top American diplomat in Hungary report to the Foreign Ministry to explain why U.S. Sen. John McCain called Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a “neo-fascist dictator” during a Senate vote in Washington on Bell’s appointment Tuesday.

McCain and other Senate Republicans refused to vote for Bell, calling her unqualified to deal with a Hungarian government that is drawing closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hungary is a NATO member.

McCain, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, denounced Orban in remarks on the Senate floor before the vote that confirmed Bell, a top political fundraiser for President Barack Obama.

"I am not against political appointees,” McCain said, according to Today online. “I understand how the game is played, but ... (Hungary) ... is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator, getting in bed with Vladimir Putin, and we're going to send the producer of 'The Bold and The Beautiful' as the ambassador?"

McCain’s words quickly reverberated in Budapest, where the Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. charge d’affaires M. Andre Goodfriend, the caretaker ambassador, to issue a rebuke.

“Hungary’s government considers unacceptable and flatly rejects Senator John McCain’s words about the Hungarian prime minister and about Hungarian and Russian relations,” the Foreign Ministry said, according to Bloomberg, adding that U.S. officials should “get to know the facts before making statements about Hungary.”

Relations between Washington and Budapest have been strained since Orban won the prime minister's office in 2010 with a solid two-thirds parliamentary majority of his conservative Fidesz party. The United States and the European Union have accused him of curtailing civil liberties and realigning Hungary with Russia.

The tension in the diplomatic ties underscored criticism of Bell as too much of a light-weight to deal with the complexities of Hungary.

Twitter criticism was intense from some top news commentators such as Fox’s Martha MacCallum and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

U.S. presidents from both political parties regularly appoint top fundraisers as ambassadors to plum locations in Europe or the Caribbean. The foreign service officers usually get hardship postings in Third World countries.

Hungary has not had a career diplomat as ambassador since President George H.W. Bush appointed Charles H. Thomas in 1990.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Soap opera producer Colleen Bell is likely to find that diplomatic life can be neither bold nor beautiful when she arrives in Budapest as the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, where her appointment has already created an international dispute.
Bell, McCain, Hungary
474
2014-53-03
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 02:53 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved