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US ambassador McMullen says farewell

Edward McMullen, US ambassador to Switzerland, as seen on October 21, 2020 in Ticino Keystone / Alessandro Crinari

Edward McMullen, the United States ambassador to Switzerland, has said farewell to the country, SonntagsBlick has reported. President Trump’s man in Bern is leaving the post after three years in the role.

This content was published on January 17, 2021 - 19:08
SonntagsBlick/CH-Media/swissinfo.ch/ilj

“It has been an incredible three years and I am very proud of the work that we have accomplished together,” McMullen said in his farewell messageExternal link posted on YouTube on Thursday and highlighted by SonntagsBlick in an article on Sunday.External link

McMullen recalled how US President Donald Trump had visited the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort of Davos twice during these years. These visits, widely reported in the media, caused quite a stir at the time.

He also pointed to Ueli Maurer becoming the first Swiss president to visit the Oval Office in 2019 (for talks than included a possible free trade deal) and mentioned Switzerland’s continuing “good offices” role as a protecting power for the US in Iran.

The ambassador had already announced back in 2019 that he would step down at the end of 2020 to return to the private sector. According to SonntagsBlick, he left the country on Sunday with his wife to go back to South Carolina.

Trump connections

McMullen, whose role also covered Liechtenstein, officially took up his ambassador post in Bern in November 2017. In 2016, the political strategist helped steer Trump's victory in the Republican primary in South Carolina before becoming a member of Trump's transition team, and Vice Chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

He remained loyal to President Trump in an interview with CH media published on SaturdayExternal link to mark the end of his tenure. Asked about the events of January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC, McMullen said he was not allowed to comment on internal political issues as a diplomat, but stressed that democracy was not under threat in the US.  He said that Trump still had his support, adding that not all Americans would always agree on everything.

On the issue of the still outstanding Swiss-US free trade agreement, he said that had Trump been re-elected, this might have materialised over the next four years.

It is not yet clear who the next US president Joe Biden will appoint as US ambassador to Switzerland. The role normally goes to a key presidential election campaign figure, SonntagsBlick said.

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