New US ambassador arrives in Copenhagen

Rufus Gifford has close ties to Barack Obama and is the second openly gay ambassador named to a NATO country

The new US ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, arrived in Copenhagen today.

Gifford, the finance director for president Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, told assembled press at Copenhagen Airport that he was excited to be in Denmark. 

"We are just absolutely thrilled to be here," Gifford said. "My partner Steven and I are just so excited to set foot in your beautiful country, and get to know Denmark and meet the Danes."

Second openly gay ambassador
Gifford is the second openly gay US ambassador to a NATO country, following James Hormel, who served as ambassador to Luxembourg during president Bill Clinton's second term. 

Gifford has close ties to Obama and helped raise $1 billion for the president's re-election. He was especially effective at raising funds from within the gay community and according to the Washington Post, the gay community in turn advocated vocally for Obama to appoint Gifford to a high-profile ambassador position. 

“Rufus Gifford is a terrific choice to represent our country in Denmark," Obama said upon nominating him for the position in June. "His demonstrated leadership and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights will serve him well as he represents America’s interests abroad.'

May face a busy start
Gifford will fill an office that has sat empty since the former ambassador, Laurie Fulton, left the post in February. He enters his position at a time when the US and Denmark are both considering military action in Syria. Gifford may also be asked to deal with the fallout from revelations that the US intelligence service, the National Security Agency (NSA), has spied on offices within the European Union.

Several MPs have said that they want an official explanation from the US. Likewise, lawmakers have raised concerns about NSA surveillance that has resulted in Danes being rejected entry into the US with no good cause. 

Earlier this week, Gifford released a video aimed at introducing himself to the Danish people, which can be seen below.