Some at the White House apparently were not happy when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, the Associated Press reports.
Norway’s then-representative to the United Nations, Morten Wetland, was quoted in a Thursday article as saying that then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel approached the Norwegian ambassador to Washington, Wegger Stroemmen, about the U.S. president’s selection and accused him of “fawning” over Obama.
Wetland said he did not personally see the exchange between Emanuel and Stroemmen. He declined to disclose how he learned about the alleged exchange between the two men. Emanuel, who is famously blunt and hot-tempered, is currently the mayor of Chicago. Stroemmen, now a top official at the Norwegian foreign ministry, did not respond to requests for comment.
“I think everyone wanted to know what motivated the [Nobel] committee,” Wetland said. “But when I was going down to the U.N. in New York, nobody talked about it. It was weird because the U.N. is a talking shop. And people just looked at their shoes. People didn’t raise it with me.”
In announcing their decision to give the prize to the U.S. leader, the five-member Nobel committee, which is selected by the Norwegian parliament, said it had “attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”
At the time, a number of skeptics noted that Obama had occupied the Oval Office for a mere 12 days before the Nobel nominations deadline, and that it was not clear how much tangible progress he had made in his ambition to foster global nuclear disarmament.