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Republican ambassador sparks controversy with far-right gathering

It's been challenging keeping up with all of this summer's scandals surrounding Trump-tapped ambassadors representing us abroad.
Image: Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Hosts Romanian President Klaus Iohannis At The State Department
The State Department seal.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

It's been a difficult summer for several of Donald Trump's ambassadors. Todd Chapman, the U.S. ambassador in Brazil, for example, was recently accused of signaling to Brazilian officials that they could boost's Trump's campaign by altering their policies on ethanol.

Around the same time, there was some unsettling reporting surrounding alleged corruption involving Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador in Great Britain, and a reported plan to move the British Open golf tournament to Trump-owned property.

We also learned in July about a controversy involving Jeffrey Ross Gunter, the U.S. ambassador in Iceland, who clashed with Icelandic officials about, among other things, his desire to carry a gun. Over the course of roughly a year, Gunter has also reportedly gone through "seven Deputy Chiefs of Mission (DCM's), experienced Foreign Service Officers who traditionally serve in the number-two job."

In early August, meanwhile, Trump tapped retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, despite -- or perhaps because of -- the Fox News personality's far-right views and criticisms of Angela Merkel's government.

But in case this list weren't already long enough, Politico had this striking report yesterday.

The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands has been accused of interfering in national politics after hosting an event for the far-right Forum for Democracy party. The event, held at the American Embassy in Wassenaar on September 10, featured between 30 and 40 "party officials and wealthy entrepreneurs," according to Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra spoke at the event.

One need not be an expert in international diplomacy to know U.S. ambassadors aren't supposed to be hosting -- at an American embassy, no less -- political events favoring one political party. Indeed, the fact that "wealthy entrepreneurs" were reportedly in attendance makes it sound like the gathering was akin to a fundraiser.

A Washington Post report added, "U.S. officials told the Dutch media that the proceeding was nothing out of the ordinary, but lawmakers argued it blurred the line between a typical embassy event and a fundraising gathering for [far-right Forum for Democracy party] -- a potential breach of international law, which prohibits interference in domestic politics."

A New York Times article went on to note, "To host a political fundraiser would, on its face, be interference in domestic politics and a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

It's quite a diplomatic team Donald Trump has assembled, isn't it?