Ex-U.S. ambassador, Utah gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. criticizes Trump after Capitol siege

In this 2017 file photo, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman testifies during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to Russia, on Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia. | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former U.S. Ambassador and Utah gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for prioritizing his own self interest above the nation’s following the deadly siege of the Capitol by the president’s supporters.

In a statement, Huntsman called on Americans to join together and push through this “anguishing period of history.” His comments came a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

“Our light has been dimmed by repeated reckless behavior encouraged by our President, who has shown time and again he cares more about his own ego and interests than in building trust in our ever-fragile institutions of democracy,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman resigned from his role as ambassador to Russia in 2019 after two years in the role. He joined other former Trump officials in condemning Wednesday’s attack.

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he would support using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office if he were a member of the president’s Cabinet.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet, called the president’s conduct a “betrayal of his office and supporters.” He resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.

Huntsman previously served as Utah governor and failed in an attempt to return to the office during a hard-fought GOP primary in June.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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