Iceland's President Forced to Walk Back Pizza Comment

Backtracks after saying he'd ban pineapple as topping if he could
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2017 5:03 AM CST
Iceland's President Ensnared in Pizza-Topping Controversy
No word on whether the addition of ham legitimizes this pizza in the president's view.   (Getty Images/alisafarov)

It's not every day that the president of Iceland's visit to a high school makes international news, but here we are: Guðni Th. Jóhannesson—a history professor in a former life—last week stopped at a school in the northern town of Akureyri and, during a Q&A period, was asked about what Iceland Magazine frames as "one of the more contentious debates of our times": whether pineapple is an appropriate pizza topping. He not only replied in the negative but quipped that if he could unilaterally pass a law, he'd ban the fruit as a pizza topping altogether. Feathers were ruffled, leading the magazine to ask whether his stance could chip away at his sky-high approval ratings; in January a pollster found only 3.8% of citizens view Jóhannesson negatively, down from 6.4% when he took office in August.

On Tuesday, Jóhannesson took to Facebook with a revised stance that clarifies he is no tropical fruit hater: "I like pineapples, just not on pizza. I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza. I am glad that I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don't like. I would not want to live in such a country." As for the kind of country he does want to live in, the Guardian reports the 47-year-old's first moves in the position—turning down a 20% pay bump; donating 10% of his salary; and in a world first, marching in a Gay Pride parade as president—have been well regarded. Maybe less so his parting advice: "For pizzas, I recommend seafood." (Read an awesome story about the founder of Little Caesars.)

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