The Trump Ambassador Who Wants to Run for Nevada Senate on His Record of Retweets

Jeffrey Ross Gunter’s year and a half tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland under Donald Trump has been described by many as a chaotic mess.

According to CBS News, the wealthy dermatologist, who was a GOP donor, had never visited Iceland before being appointed to his post. He purged staff, screamed at employees and demanded security guards with guns in the safest place in the world.

The Inspector General of the State Department issued a report about Gunter in which he allegedly threatened to sue employees at the embassy whom he considered to be enemies. Washington was reportedly so upset by this situation that they instructed U.S. diplomatic missions to Europe to bypass Gunter and work directly with Icelandic officials.

Gunter now wants to take on a new job: U.S. Senator.

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Gunter told several Republican operatives he planned to take on Sen. Jacky Rose (D) next year in Nevada, a competitive battleground.

Gunter’s campaign launch date is not yet known, but he has already spun his disastrous time in Reykjavik into a success story: A webpage that he set up to showcase his “triumphs”, as an ambassador.

All 122, to be precise.

Gunter’s first achievement is legitimate: he oversaw the construction of a U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. From there, Gunter often measures his success in diplomatic terms by the number of retweets he receives from Donald Trump or social media views.

Gunter’s sixth rated achievement on his website is posting a congratulatory “tweet” about President Trump’s historic brokering the Abraham Accords, which drew an “unprecedented response,” and “stands out as Ambassador Gunter and embassy Reykjavik’s most reacted to tweet.”

The website states that “it was retweeted by the President of the United States.”

Gunter’s five accomplishments are a Facebook video that he made on July 4, which allegedly “offered an impactful but simple message of patriotism and shared democratic values as well as the deep connection between Iceland and the United States.” This video reached over 171,000 viewers, which is more than any other post on social media in the history U.S. embassy Reykjavik.

Gunter’s “three Facebook videos” to inspire people in the COVID-19 Pandemic, which inspired the United States as well as the Icelandic people created solidarity and helped many people through these difficult times.

The reporting on Gunter’s tenure as ambassador revealed that his obsession with social networking was so intense that he spent hours with the embassy staff creating a single Tweet.

Gunter gives himself credit as well for completing the basic duties of a diplomat overseas, such as processing passport requests and communicating with Icelandic counterparts. The Icelandic Foreign Minister was welcomed to the embassy as a simple accomplishment. Gunter’s performance was criticized by both U.S. residents in Iceland and Icelanders. Some even called for his recall.

Gunter’s other accomplishment is the “tradition” of ‘light meals’.

The site states that “Initially launched during long, dark winters and sometimes breakfasts, these meals (and sometimes even breakfasts) continued throughout the summer as the COVID epidemic threatened both the sense of community among the people, and the community itself.” Leadership is all about taking care of your team.

Gunter’s old team may find that line hollow. CBS News reports that during his tenure as ambassador, Gunter fired seven deputy chiefs-of-mission–the highest diplomat in an embassy besides the ambassador. He did this because he “didn’t like the look” of one of them. The ambassador once scolded a staffer who kept snow boots under his desk during the Icelandic winter.

Gunter’s self-identified achievements, and the failures that he conspicuously left out of it, are a good example of why he is not a top recruit for Republicans.

Gunter didn’t respond to an inquiry for comment via his website.

In Nevada, Republicans need to find a strong opponent for Rosen in 2024. The race between Adam Laxalt and Catherine Cortez Masto last year was the closest Senate contest in the current cycle. It was decided by only 8,000 votes. National Republicans are eager to reclaim a Nevada seat, as a win there could easily tip their Senate majority in their favor.

According to The Nevada Independent, GOP brass have been recruiting Sam Brown. He is a retired U.S. Army captain and Purple Heart winner who ran unsuccessfully for the party’s nomination in the Senate race of 2022.

Jim Marchant is the leading candidate. This also causes concern for many Republicans. Marchant, a far-right ex-state legislator who failed to win the Nevada Secretary of State’s race last year and is closely linked with key figures of the QAnon conspiration movement, has vocally denied that the 2020 election will be won.

Gunter could be a formidable candidate in a crowded field of primary candidates, though, because he can fund his campaign with his own wealth. He is a dermatologist who founded skin clinic chains in California, Nevada Arizona and Texas. He has donated hundreds of thousands to Republican causes and campaigns over the years.

Gunter’s generosity is what likely landed him a highly coveted ambassadorship to the northernmost capital in the world. He gave $100,000 to a super-PAC that supported Trump’s campaign in 2016 and another $100,000 for Trump’s inaugural. It’s not uncommon for presidents and their donors to be awarded ambassador posts. However, Trump has nominated a high number of non-diplomatic political appointees who have given lavishly to Trump’s inaugural committee.

Gunter’s possible Senate run could be derailed by his ties with the GOP, which are not totally solid–and by his ties with his adopted state of Illinois that seem flimsy.

He appears to have registered to vote with two parties and two states. According to The Daily Beast’s review of voting records, Gunter registered in Nevada as a Republican for 2021. Since 2000, he is registered as a Democrat to vote in California, his long-time home state.

Gunter attended high school and college at Berkeley, studied medicine at Los Angeles and founded his dermatology practice in Lancaster, a city just outside Los Angeles. Since 2007, he has owned real estate in Nevada. He owns a house in Pahrump which is an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, on the California border.

Gunter’s website states that he lives in Nevada. CBS News reported that Gunter, in 2020 during the COVID epidemic, wanted to return to Iceland rather than work in California.