United States’s Consul General to Bermuda, Lee Rizzuto, a controversial Donald Trump campaign contributor, announced that he will leave his post in Bermuda when the new administration in the US is sworn in next week.
He will make his departure after just six months on the job.
“Serving as the US Consul General to Bermuda has been a privilege and a great honour. I am grateful to President Trump for selecting me to serve my country in this role. As the new administration is sworn in next week, my service in Bermuda will come to an end. Although my time in this beautiful country was somewhat brief, it was very significant,” he said in a statement.
Joe Biden will take over as President from Donald Trump, who chose Rizzuto for the Bermuda role last year as a replacement for Constance Dierman, even though she had completed only two years of a three-year assignment.
Protesters campaigned outside the US Consulate on the outskirts of Hamilton before Rizzuto took up his post last July.
Rizzuto, a 58-year-old businessman who gave US$449,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign political action committee, made headlines in America after he reportedly shared “conspiracy theories and unfounded attacks” about the President’s political opponents on Twitter ahead of the 2016 election.
The fallout resulted in Trump not gaining Senate confirmation when he nominated Rizzuto for a diplomatic post in Barbados.
Rizzuto said in a statement on Wednesday: “The United States Congress has certified the election and on January 20, we will welcome a new administration.
“I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their achievements and stand ready to provide any assistance that may be required to facilitate the transition and pay tribute to the special US-Bermuda relationship.
“Our democracy will emerge stronger with an orderly transition of power.”
In a statement in December, Rizzuto noted he had helped to get Bermuda moved to a lower travel advisory in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and had also helped to get US mail coming to the island again after American Airlines stopped flying to the island, also because of the pandemic.
Rizzuto noted that he has had the opportunity to “work on many projects and contribute to the bilateral relations of the United States and Bermuda“.
He added: “It has also been most enjoyable to build relationships, strengthen ties between both countries and to have met so many dynamic people. My wife Denise and I will continue to cherish the memories we have made here and extend our well wishes to everyone.
“Bermuda has found a special place in our hearts. During our time here, we also had the opportunity to visit 103 houses of worship – a true gem of Bermuda and reflection of the people.”