Shortly after approving Mike Pompeo as U.S. secretary of state, the U.S. Senate confirmed Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany by a vote of 56 to 42.
Grenell was nominated back in September 2017 and re-nominated in 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s impending visit to the White House tomorrow may have helped break the logjam in the Senate.
Richard Grenell received yes votes from all Republicans present in the chamber along with six Democrats, the Washington Blade reported. With a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard, Grenell was the longest-serving U.S. spokesman at the United Nations, holding that job from 2001 to 2008 in the George W. Bush administration, including working for John Bolton, now President Trump’s national security adviser, during that time.
He also briefly was Mitt Romney’s foreign policy spokesman during the 2012 presidential campaign but reportedly stepped down after complaints from social conservatives.
“Grenell is a foreign policy expert who has served in various roles as a public communications adviser and a Fox News commentator,” the Blade recalled.
Germany is the world’s fourth-largest economy, and Merkel is also the de facto head of the European Union, so the U.S. envoy job is an important one, regardless of who happens to be in the White House.
President Trump also considered Ric Grenell, 51, for the position of U.N.ambassador before selecting Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, for that high-profile post.
In today’s action, Grenell was unable to obtain the votes of the two senators from California where he lives (or lived, now that he is relocating to Berlin), however. Most Democrats apparently opposed Grenell’s nomination because of some (and subsequently deleted) controversial tweets he sent out several years ago, for which he apologized. During his confirmation hearing, Grenell told senators on the foreign relations committee that he meant the undiplomatic tweets to be humorous and that they don’t reflect how he would conduct himself as an ambassador, the Washington Post noted.
After the president reportedly encountered Ric Grenell and several other friends at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, “The dinner’s participants impressed upon Trump the importance of having Grenell confirmed ahead of Merkel’s visit Friday, sparking public and private pressure on McConnell,” the Daily Caller reported.
Trump called out Democrats for holding up the nomination in a tweet on Monday, and also mentioned it during his press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron the following day.
Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018
“Conservative activists and the White House mounted a months-long campaign to pressure Democrats to either drop their opposition to Grenell or have McConnell hold a vote on his nomination, which costs valuable debate time on the floor of the Senate,” the Caller added.
Under arcane U.S. Senate rules, lawmakers can use up to 30 hours of floor time to debate each presidential nominee after clearing the appropriate committee, and even if the votes are in hand for confirmation. Hundreds of Trump administration nominees still await a final vote.
Ric Grenell is a longtime member of the Log Cabin Republicans, “the nation’s largest organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies,” Fox News explained.
Richard Grenell is no fan of the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that was reached during the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported, from which President Trump may pull out, in a decision due next month.
“Grenell worked on restrictions and sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions as the long-serving spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration — where he worked with Bolton during his stint as U.N. ambassador. Since leaving the government, he has been openly critical of the Iran deal, calling it ‘a direct blow to the U.N.’s credibility’ and the negotiations that led to it ‘a colossal and dangerous waste of time.'”
Presumbly Richard Grenell will be sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Germany in the very near future, and sometime before Merkel arrives in Washington to visit with Trump. If the ceremony is public, check back with the Inquisitr for the footage.
Update: Watch Vice President Pence swear in Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany in the video clip below.