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‘National Disgrace’: News That Trump Will Name Richard Grenell as Acting DNI Draws Fierce Backlash

Richard Grenell

President Donald Trump has announced that he will name U.S. Ambassador to Germany and strident pro-Trump ideologue Richard Grenell to be the new acting Director of National Intelligence, which would make him the first-ever openly gay cabinet member.

“I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence,” Trump wrote. “Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him.”

According to the New York Times, the White House is looking to tap Grenell because Joseph Maguire, the current acting DNI, who ultimately took over the agency after former DNI Dan Coates resigned last summer, cannot, by law, serve past March 12. Grenell can replace Maguire as the acting head of the DNI because he has been already Senate confirmed for his ambassador post. But Trump is not expected to try to nominate Grenell to be the permanent director of the country’s 17 intelligence agencies.

“Since the acquittal of Mr. Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, the White House has been pushing to remove officials seen as disloyal or holding views contrary to the White House, looking for replacements who are more likely to follow the president’s wishes,” the Times reported. “While it has never been clear how Mr. Trump viewed Mr. Maguire, there is little doubt that the president would like a partisan fighter in the post before any public testimony before Congress.”

Grenell enjoys a reputation as just that. A former Fox News contributor, he is known to be a fierce online warrior, who has been unafraid to parrot the Trump line and lecture his host country, so much so that they called on the White House to recall him from his ambassador post in Berlin. Grenell was infamously fired from his role as national security adviser to the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign after a right-wing backlash over his being openly gay.

“Grenell is also a polarizing figure and his confirmation by the Senate is not assured,” the Times says. “A number of Republican senators have privately pushed the administration to nominate a national security professional or politician who is seen as a less divisive figure.”

News of Grenell’s appointment to a critical, nonpartisan cabinet post unleashed a fierce backlash online, as many critics criticized his notable lack of national security experience as well as his unapologetically brash partisan attacks.

 

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