Republican businessman apparent nominee for next US ambassador to Prague

Photo: mar lidia, Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Months ago there were reports that the next US ambassador to Prague could be Ivana Trump, the Czech-born ex-wife of President Donald Trump. There are now reports that the next American ambassador will be Steve King. There was some confusion early on Friday, whether the person in question was a US congressman for the state of Iowa or, as it emerged later, a businessman of the same name who contributed to the Trump campaign.

Ivana Trump, photo: Christopherpeterson, CC BY 3.0
Not long after Donald Trump’s unexpected triumph in the US elections which saw him become America’s 45th president, his ex-wife, the prolific socialite Ivana Trump let it be heard she was interested in being named the next ambassador to Prague. And many in the Czech Republic, including the head of state agreed the former Czech model would be a good choice, someone who could put the Czech Republic on the map through sheer celebrity status. Some even compared her potential nomination to that of former child actress Shirley Temple Black after Czechoslovakia emerged from 40 years of communism.

Certainly, Ivana, who has returned to her home country on numerous occasions and whose mother still lives here, and someone who taught her children the language (Donald, Jr still speaks fluent Czech), could be an asset, someone who knows the country, customs and mentality, to say the least. Those who were holding out for her naming, however, saw their hopes dashed on Friday. Someone else got the nod… but things weren’t as clear cut as one might expect.

In a curious development, Czech media reported that the nominee for US ambassador to Prague was a 67-year-old US congressman from Iowa with very conservative views, someone who would have cut the sharpest of contrasts with the last US ambassador to Prague, Obama appointee Andrew Schapiro.

US embassy in Prague, photo: Czech Radio - Radio Prague
Those reports have since been denied, an apparent and unprecedented mix-up of ‘two Steve Kings’.

Sahil Kapur, a journalist for Bloomberg, tweeted that he had spoken with the congressman personally and learned that the Iowa conservative had not been in touch with the US State Department at all for the post.

Instead, it is now thought that the Steve King in question may be a Republican businessman from the state of Wisconsin who - according to reports citing a US source – was a contributor to the Trump campaign. The coming hours or days will see the matter no doubt clarified further.

Meanwhile, perhaps it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if another King – Stephen – weighed in after the ‘royal mix-up’. Who couldn’t help but be reminded of the world’s most famous horror author who shares a similar name. Stephen King – the author – is of course no fan of the 45th American president as most readers – here as well as the US – know from his twitter feed. Even so, knowing Czech humour, it seems likely jokes will now emerge here that the top diplomat will be none other than him.