US ambassador heading home from Denmark ahead of Trump’s presidential inauguration – The Post

US ambassador heading home from Denmark ahead of Trump’s presidential inauguration

Rufus Gifford, one of this country’s most high-profile diplomats ever, ends his stint this week

Rufus Gifford and Denmark really embraced one another, and everywhere it went, it really showed (all photos: Hasse Ferrold)
January 16th, 2017 7:54 am| by Ray Weaver
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Rufus Gifford, the US ambassador to Denmark, wraps up his time here this week after three and a half years in Copenhagen.

As the Trump administration moves into place on January 20, Gifford will be just one of many diplomats the new president will replace. He will leave his post as one of the most popular ambassadors to ever serve in Denmark.



Reality show star
Gifford has been the subject of his own reality show, ‘Jeg Er Ambassadøren fra America’ (‘I Am the Ambassador From America’). Along with being aired in Denmark, the show about Gifford’s daily life has become a surprise Netflix hit.

Gifford was a regular participant in the Pride parade (photo by Hasse Ferrold )
He has also been the subject of a bestselling biography, and his popularity has often dwarfed that of even the most powerful Danish politicians when he has been out in public.
 
Questioned about his high level of visibility, Gifford said: “I’d rather be criticised doing what I’m doing than having people not pay attention to it.”
 
Accessible and friendly
His tenure in Denmark has been marked by his accessibility. He was a regular on Danish chat shows. And he was also a favourite among Danes for his openly gay lifestyle. His marriage to Stephen DeVincent at Copenhagen City Hall was a cause for celebration in a country proud of its tolerance.
Their wedding was like a scene out of a movie … well, a documentary (photo: Hasse Ferrold)
 
Gifford endeared himself even more to Danes this past New Year’s when he turned down an opportunity to attend President Obama’s official farewell dinner in the United States to attend the traditional Danish New Year banquet with Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Saying it was his last chance to attend a royal event in Denmark, Gifford chose the queen.
 
A busy last day
Although Gifford is officially scheduled to leave Denmark on January 20, he will say his goodbyes to Queen Margrethe and the people of Copenhagen today,  Monday January 16.

He will do some early morning voluntary work at a Copenhagen homeless shelter before meeting with the queen at Amalienborg at 11:30. He will then be given a farewell soiree at Copenhagen City Hall, hosted by Frank Jensen, the lord mayor of Copenhagen.

 

Ambassador Gifford’s January 16 program


– 08:00-10:00: Voluntary work at a Copenhagen breakfast shelter for the homeless
– 11:30-11:50: Audience with Queen Margrethe at Amalienborg
13:10: Arrival at City Hall, greeted by Lord Mayor Frank Jensen
– 13:15: Ambassador gives a presentation discussing his time in Denmark, the US election and the future challenges facing America
– 13:35: Lord Mayor Frank Jensen and Ambassador Gifford discuss the American presidential election
– 13:55: Q&A from the audience.
– 14:15: Networking and light refreshments