Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, on SaturdayÂ responded to a columnÂ by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gerke, explaining why he wonât step down from his role even after Donald Trump appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference last Monday. But, Huntsman offered little in the way of support for the presidentâs actions.
Huntsman wasÂ responding to a column published Tuesday in the Tribune, the Utah paper owned by Huntsmanâs brother, Paul Huntsman. In that article, Gerke called on Hunstman to resign, writing, âHuntsman, you work for a pawn, not a president.â That article was published in the wake of Trumpâs stunning performance last Monday in Helsinki, during which the president cast doubt on U.S. intelligence agencies and appeared to accept Putinâs denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Writing for the Tribune, Huntsman defended his position as U.S. ambassador to Russia, explaining that he is âcharged with representing our countryâs interest, which in the case of Russia are complex and little understood.â
âPopular punditry is ill-suited to describing the acts of courage, dedication and patriotism I regularly witness as chief of mission overseeing one of Americaâs most sensitive overseas outposts,â Hunstman wrote. âOur work has been made more difficult over the past year by the loss of hundreds of colleagues through unprecedented expulsions of diplomats and a staff drawdown imposed by the Russian government.â
In his op-ed, Hunstman likewise defended the ârepresentatives of our foreign service, civil service, military and intelligence servicesâ who work to âstabilize 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.â
âTheir dedication to service to their country is above politics, and it inspires me to the core,â he added. âIt is my standard.â
Still, Huntsman offered no defense of the president, whose action on Monday were panned by critics and supporters alike.
âI have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues, whom you reference, about whether I should resign,â Huntsman insisted. âThe laughter told me everything I needed to know. It also underscores the fragile nature of this moment.â
Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on TwitterÂ @lizacisms.