New United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic Bijan Sabet hasn’t even started performing official duties, but he’s already drawing some harsh criticism in local media.
Sabet’s crime? He posted a photo of an ice cream-filled trdelník to Twitter. After some initial criticism on the social media platform, he deleted the offending photo, but not before local media could pick up on the story.
“A misstep from the new U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic,” reads a headline on CNN Prima News.
“The first mistake from the new American Ambassador,” writes iDnes.cz.
Sabet, who just arrived in Prague days ago after being sworn in to the post of U.S. Ambassador in December, could probably be forgiven for thinking that the trdelník was a Czech thing. After all, it can be seen in every other storefront in the Malá Strana district surrounding the American Embassy.
But the trdelník, a ubiquitous eyesore that can be seen scattered around overflowing waste baskets in the center of Prague, is not a Czech tradition, at least according to the walking trdelník that took to Prague streets last month in a vain effort to educate the tourist masses.
It’s too bad that Sabet didn’t spot the ironic trdelník mascot on his tour of the city center, which could have saved him some social media embarrassment. Top tip for the new Ambassador: subscribe to the Honest Guide YouTube channel for the lowdown on Prague’s tourist traps and other scams.
Still, we’d love to know if Sabet actually ate the trdelník, and what he thought of it.
Sabet isn’t the first U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic to spark controversy.
Former Ambassador Andrew Shapiro, who served under Barack Obama, was actually banned from entering Prague Castle by President Miloš Zeman after criticizing Zeman’s decision to attend WWII commemorations in Moscow. Even trdelník-toting tourists are allowed entry to the Prague landmark.
Ambassador Steven B. King, meanwhile, who served under Donald Trump, had a relatively controversy-free time while in Prague.
But King was also a security agent for Richard Nixon’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President in 1972, and (allegedly) abducted and restrained Martha Mitchell, wife of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, to prevent her from learning about the Watergate break-in. These events were recently dramatized in the TV series Gaslit, starring Julia Roberts as Martha Mitchell and Brian Geraghty as a character based on King.