The United States embassy in Switzerland has confirmed that Ambassador Ed McMullen, a supporter and former political strategist of US President Donald Trump, officially took up his position in Bern on December 15, some three weeks after presenting his credentials to Swiss officials.
Tanya Gant Ward, spokesperson for the US embassy in Bern, confirmed to swissinfo.ch on Monday that McMullen did indeed begin work in mid-December.
She also commented on the delay between the ambassador presenting his credentials to Swiss President Doris Leuthard and his starting in office, explaining that the gap was a result of the timing of his confirmation by the US Senate.external link
“The delay between Ambassador McMullen presenting his credentials and coming permanently to Bern is not typical," she said. "Because of the timing of his confirmation in the United States, he had to rush to Switzerland to present his credentials in November or wait until the next opportunity in January. "
"The Department of State’s bureaucracy does not work quickly, so he had to return to the United States to wrap up his affairs and pack his household,” Ward told swissinfo.ch on Monday.
McMullen's naming as ambassador to Bern was also long awaited.
Whilst the timeline for ambassadorial appointments from the United States can vary widely, US President Trump’s appointments took longer than usual – on average 85 days, compared to 32 and 11 days for former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively.
McMullen takes over from Suzi LeVine, who served as ambassador during the second Obama administration. She in turn succeeded Obama's first Swiss envoy, Donald Beyer.