President Donald Trump on Wednesday
named Richard Grenell as acting director of national intelligence.
Grenell, a staunch supporter of Trump's
policies, is the U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
“I am pleased to announce that our
highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become
the Acting Director of National Intelligence,” Trump said in a
tweet. “Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I
look forward to working with him.”
The move makes Grenell the most senior
openly gay official in the Trump administration.
Grenell served as a US spokesman at the
United Nations during former President George W. Bush's
administration. He worked on Arizona Senator John McCain's
unsuccessful presidential campaign. In 2012, he joined the
presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, serving as the Republican
nominee's foreign policy spokesman, but resigned less than two weeks
later amid growing pressure from social conservatives over his sexual
orientation. Prior to his ambassadorship, Grenell appeared on Fox
News Channel as a foreign affairs commentator and was one of Trump's
earliest foreign policy supporters.
Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from
Virginia and vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee,
criticized Grenell's appointment, saying he lacks experience.
“The intelligence community deserves
stability and an experienced individual to lead them in a time of
massive national and global security challenges,” Warner said. “And
at a time when the integrity and independence of the Department of
Justice has been called into grave question, now more than ever our
country needs a Senate-confirmed intelligence director who will
provide the best intelligence and analysis, regardless of whether or
not it’s expedient for the president who has appointed him.”
Trump has previously skirted around the
Senate by putting people in acting positions that do not require
Senate confirmation without naming a permanent replacement.