June 4, 2018 at 10:14 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Sen. Shaheen: Recall Ambassador Grenell if political statements continue

Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senate, gay news, Washington Blade, New Hampshire, Democratic Party

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said Ambassador Ric Grenell should be recalled if his political statements continue. (Pubic domain photo).

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on Monday warned U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Trump administration, his position “should be recalled immediately” if his political statements continue.

“An ambassador’s most critical responsibility is to advance our national interests by developing relationships and trust with their host country,” Shaheen said. “They should not meddle in local or regional politics by backing political parties, candidates or causes. If Ambassador Grenell is unwilling to refrain from political statements, he should be recalled immediately. The United States does not accept foreign meddling in our elections, and we shouldn’t have an ambassador attempting to intrude in another country’s political affairs.”

Shaheen made the statement in reference to comments from Grenell during an interview with Breitbart London on Sunday in which he said he wants to “empower other conservatives” to rise up against “elites.” Those comments caught the eye of officials in Europe and United States, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who said on Twitter he warned Grenell about “politicizing this post,” but received assurances he’d stay out of politics.

According to Politico, a State Department spokesperson said Grenell didn’t attempt to endorse political candidates in the interview.

“Amb. Grenell clarified his comments via Twitter and noted it is not U.S. policy to endorse candidates or parties,” the spokesperson said. “He was making general observations in the interview.”

It’s the not the first time Grenell has made controversial comments as ambassador. Within a week of Senate confirmation, Grenell instructed German companies via Twitter to stop doing business in Iran immediately on the same day President Trump withdrew from the Iran deal

Grenell’s nomination as ambassador was controversial. The Senate approved him on party-line basis after his nomination stalled for months. Democrats objected to mean tweets for which he has since apologized about the appearance of women and comments downplaying Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, chided Shaheen, accusing her of misinterpreting Grenell’s comments.

“Sen. Shaheen needs to get off the partisan soapbox and re-read what Ambassador Grenell said before making hyperpartisan statements seeking to score cheap political points,” Angelo said.

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

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