President Donald Trump announced yesterday that Richard Grenell, the current United States Ambassador to Germany, has been appointed as the Acting Director of National Intelligence. He takes the position over from former US Navy admiral, Joseph Maguire, who himself was their acting director since Dan Coats’ vacated from the role in August of last year.
Grenell is now the first openly gay cabinet member in Trump’s administration. Social media was split after Trump announced the news with some being happy about the decision, in particular having this be so historic given his sexuality, while others criticized the president for appointing someone that they felt didn’t have enough experience in this kind of position.
Maybe try nominating someone who might actually get approved by the Senate instead of appointing a loyalist who’s never even worked in intelligence to an “acting” position.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 20, 2020
The Michigan-born politician has had quite the career up to this point with some personal struggles along the way. Here are 5 fast facts to know about Mr. Grenell as he takes on his new role:
1: He’s worked with many other Republicans in the past. Grenell, a registered Republican, has been a political adviser to many others in his party including former Governor of New York George Pataki. The 53-year-old was also appointed by President George W. Bush as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations which he served from 2001-2008.
2: Grenell has made history as an openly gay male in the past. He was sworn in as United States Ambassador of Germany on May 7, 2018, which made him the highest ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration. His position has not been without criticism, as he drew the ire from many within hours on the job when he tweeted that, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” Jean Asselborn, the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, slammed Grenell’s words, saying, “This man was accredited as ambassador only yesterday. To give German businesses such orders… that’s just not how you can treat your allies.”
3: He was instrumental in helping decriminalize homosexuality on a worldwide scale. The Trump administration launched a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in dozens of nations in 2018 where it’s still illegal to be gay where Grenell took the lead on. The geographic focus on this campaign was mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
4: Major health problems. Grenell revealed in June 2013 that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphona. He announce two months later on Twitter that he was in remission.
Vice President Pence swears in Ric Grenell who is moving to Berlin to serve as US Ambassador to Germany. Holding the Bible is Ric's longtime partner Matt Lashey. pic.twitter.com/h2EBBnus3e
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 3, 2018
5: He’s been in love for quite some time. Grenell has been in a long-term relationship with a man named Matt Lashey for several years. Matt held the bible while Grenell was being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence for his US Ambassador to Germany role.