Biden’s next protocol chief is a reality TV star in Denmark

Photo by Flickr News user Oresund-Johan Wessman.

Joe biden ad his pick for chief of protocol today, bringing in former ambassador to Denmark and Danish reality TV star Rufus Gifford for the role. Gifford has a knack for turning diplomatic gigs into attention-grabbing opportunities: the Obama-era ambassador starred in a reality show Jeg er ambassadøren fra Amerikawhich translates to I am the Ambassador of America –during his stay abroad.

Gifford is a big deal in Copenhagen. His two-season TV show chronicled his work in foreign policy while giving viewers a window into the diplomat’s personal life. Gifford is married to vet Stephen DeVincent – their elegant wedding has been presented by Vogue Weddings – and the couple are parents of golden retrievers Argo and Svend. The series even earned the former ambassador an award from Danish television.

Gifford’s entertainment biz experience goes far beyond simple Scandinavian television. Prior to his diplomatic career, the Massachusetts native was an associate producer on films as notable as Daddy Daycare and Dr Doolittle 2. He also helped bring improvisational comedy in Denmark, which, apparently, the country did not somehow consider a violation of diplomatic etiquette.

In his new role, Gifford will act as Biden’s liaison to the diplomatic community. This work includes coordinating the schedules of foreign dignitaries visiting the United States and ensuring that members of the administration are aware of the differences in decorum when traveling.

Does that mean there may soon be a weekly American reality show chronicling the wacky misunderstandings and complications of a high-stakes diplomatic protocol? We would watch it.

Assistant editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.

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