The highest-ranking gay member of the Trump administration, ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, has been at his post for just over a month and he’s already offended the German people twice. When Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear pact last month, Grenell, within a few hours of arriving on the job in Germany, offended his hosts by tweeting that the country’s businesses should pull out of Iran immediately. Having learned nothing from the blowback, Grenell recently told the far-right Breitbart News that he wanted to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe,” causing some to insist he be kicked out of the country for threatening Germany’s “democratic sovereignty,” The Hill reported.
“I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left,” Grenell told Breitbart. He also said it's “an exciting time” to be an ambassador.
A longtime Republican activist and the longest-serving U.S. spokesman at the United Nations, serving from 2001 to 2008, under four U.N. ambassadors in the George W. Bush administration, Grenell also worked on Mitt Romney’s campaign as national security spokesman for two weeks before he left reportedly because his being gay overshadowed his work.
“It is pretty clear that this is not ambassadorial, but this is being understood as political interference rather than voicing someone’s perspectives,” Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, vice president at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin, told The Hill about Grenell’s most recent offending remarks. “That’s how it was constructed and how it was understood.”
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert defended Grenell’s remarks saying that he "was merely highlighting that there are some parties and candidates in Europe who are doing well right now."
"We’re not supporting any political party. That’s not what we do," Nauert said. "We support democracy, we support countries figuring out for themselves who they want to vote in for office."
Grenell took umbrage with the interpretation of his remarks as an attempt to promote a political party while also praising his billionaire boss for “rejecting elites.”
Absurd. I condemn those comments completely. Don’t put words in my mouth. The idea that I’d endorse candidates/parties is ridiculous. I stand by my comments that we are experiencing an awakening from the silent majority - those who reject the elites & their bubble. Led by Trump. https://t.co/DjSX4SL3bf
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 4, 2018