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Ruling Party Slams NDI Georgia Head for Her Facebook Comment

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, January 31
(TBILISI)--Georgian Dream (GD) ruling party slams National Democratic Institute (NDI) Georgia Office Head, Laura Thornton, for saying that the President of the United States (US), Donald Trump cannot find Georgia on the map.

Thornton wrote her post in Facebook after her interview with Georgia’s Imedi TV on January 23.

“An Imedi journalist literally asked me whether the NDI intended to lobby the confrontation between the American president and Russia by asking a question about the US and Russian military forces to the respondents within a survey. I loudly laughed. With great likelihood, Trump cannot even find Georgia on the map, not to mention that he does not watch the results of our survey! But I like the assumption that we have such a big influence!" her post reads.

GD’s majoritarian candidate of Kaspi Municipality, Irakli Mezurnishvili, held a special press-conference and demanded an apology from Thornton.

“This ironic comment introduces the idea that Georgia is such an unimportant country for the West that it is even impossible to find it on the map…Such statement benefits only the joint enemy of Georgia and the US,” Mezurnishvili stressed.

GD faction Chair, Mamuka Mdinaradze, also criticized Thornton, saying if the NDI Office Head wanted to criticize Trump, she should not have involved Georgia.

“This was not a correct statement from her side. She should not have insulted Georgia,” Mdinaradze added.

Irma Inashvili, one of the leaders of the parliamentary opposition Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG), believes such statements might affect Georgia-US relations.

“The US is our strategic partner and Mr. Trump quite well knows where Georgia is,” she added.

Opposition parties European Georgia and the United National Movement (UNM) do not agree with the majority and APG.

European Georgia member Otar Kakhidze says Thornton’s post was a direct criticism towards Trump and it was not targeted to Georgia.

“This statement is not linked to Georgia’s interests and does not criticize us. Only the GD’s foreign policy is damaging for the country,” he said.

The UNM faction Chair, Roman Gotsiridze says Thornton made a symbolic expression and politicians should be able to understand the allegories correctly.

“This statement means that the Georgian authorities do not work with international partners well enough and that Georgia needs to be more visible on the world map,” he explained.

Laura Thornton herself says she will not apologize for her personal opinion.

“This was my personal opinion posted on my personal page. I am not going to apologize for that,” NDI Georgia Office Head told Imedi TV.