October 26, 2017 at 11:52 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Trump’s gay nominee facing Dem opposition in Senate

Richard Grenell is facing opposition in his confirmation process from Democrats.
(Screen capture public domain)

The first openly LGBT nominee of President Trump’s administration is encountering opposition from Democrats, who are objecting to his history of sexist comments.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly voted Thursday to approve gay foreign policy expert Ric Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany on 11-10 party-line basis.

A Democratic aide said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) spoke for Democrats on Grenell’s nomination and expressed concern about his public commentary, including degrading comments about the appearance of women. Those remarks, Murphy reportedly said, could be a problem if Grenell becomes the U.S. representative to a country led by arguably the most powerful woman in the world.

During Grenell’s confirmation hearing, Murphy raised concerns about Grenell’s remarks on Twitter about the appearances of women. Grenell deleted those tweets and apologized for them in 2012 during his brief stint of two weeks on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, which he noted during the hearing.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very caring person and very sensitive — and I also appreciate good humor,” Grenell said in response. “Unfortunately, there are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous, and, again, that was never my intention and I regret that.”

But Grenell has a history of making offensive comments about women long before the advent of social media. A 1995 Washington Post profile on Grenell quotes his fellow staffer in the 1992 Bush-Quayle re-election campaign as saying he once told a female colleague, “‘Didn’t your mother ever tell you only whores and very small children wear red shoes?’”

The narrow vote in committee could spell trouble for Grenell when his nomination comes to the Senate floor. If all Democrats vote against his nomination and at least three Republicans vote “no,” his confirmation will be sunk.

The opposition to a gay nominee from Democrats marks a considerable contrast to years past when Republicans would be the voice against presidential gay appointments, citing objections to their sexual orientation. But Grenell’s sexual orientation isn’t the issue for Democrats.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, criticized the Democratic opposition to Grenell’s nomination.

“Clearly no Republican is immune from the Democrats’ unhinged opposition to anything and everything proposed by the Trump administration — even a highly qualified openly gay man appointed to represent our interests in a center-right nation that just realized marriage equality,” Angelo said. “Pathetic, but not surprising.”

Also receiving a 11-10 party-line pick was Sam Brownback, Trump’s pick as U.S. ambassador at large for religious freedom, who also has an anti-LGBT record.

Prior to the vote, the Human Rights Campaign sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging senators to reject the nomination.

“Over his long career in the U.S. Senate and as governor of Kansas, Gov. Brownback has consistently opposed basic civil and human rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people and queer (LGBTQ) people,” wrote Human Rights Campaign Governmental Affairs Director David Stacy. “These positions stand in contrast to longstanding policies of the U.S. State Department and could do severe damage to LGBTQ people living abroad.”

During his confirmation hearing, Brownback refused to say under questioning from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Kaine) that religious motivations aren’t sufficient justification for foreign laws instituting the death penalty for homosexual acts.

Approved on a unanimous basis by the committee was former Rep. Pete Hoekstra for the position of U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Hoekstra had unanimous support despite an anti-gay history and objections to his nomination from a Dutch LGBT group based on his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Steve Danowski

    He has shown questionable judgement in how he speaks and acts toward women. This post is to a country that is being lead by A WOMAN, who for all intents and purposes is the Leader of Europe (if not the free world since some one is abdicating his responsibilities). Is 45 not enough of an embarrassment on the international stage we have to have this misogynist there?

    • LesbianTippingHabits

      In answer to your question, No, not at all.

      After all, 45 sent to the Vatican – as his personal representative – an admitted Adulteress, Ambassador Callista Gingrich.

      She’s also a parsimonious (cheap) tipper.

      • Steve Danowski

        I don’t know. I have always felt there was a difference between stepping in fecal matter and having it thrown in your face and smeared there.

    • K Morgan

      and you can see what that got europe…overrun by camel jocks…..

      • Steve Danowski

        Awww, the bigot trolls have come out of the woodwork to spout racism. Good Day!

        • K Morgan

          Awww, the idiot liberals have come out of the woodwork to spout racism. Good Day!

          • Steve Danowski

            Haha… your lack of reading comprehension amuses me, as well as your inability to use words correctly. It was a valiant effort, however, it was quite the fail. Perhaps you would benefit from some remedial reading courses as well as a dictionary. There are many resources available. Perhaps a local community college could be of assistance.

          • Jeff

            Steve just won the Pretentious BIGOT award. congratulations

  • ohhh – fiddledeedoo :)

  • Rick Stokes

    Who’s the pathetic one, Gregory Angelo? You are!

  • psphilip

    why do we NEED a ambassodor at large for relguois reasons? SECULAR nation NOT a theocracy here

  • joeblow55

    Obviously Ric has mother issues. And his Log Cabin mouthpiece Greg Angelo supports this sexist dog down the line. He is as unacceptable a nominee as that prostitute Callista (aka Caligula) Gingrich to the Vatican. Reject him. There are plenty of haters on the right who will be more than happy to help.

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