April 27, 2018 at 3:37 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Trump congratulates gay appointee Ric Grenell on confirmation

United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and President Donald Trump (Photo via Twitter)

President Trump congratulated on Friday his most high-profile openly gay appointee Richard Grenell on his confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Trump made the remarks at the start of his joint news conference at the White House with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel after her congratulating her on her re-election.

“We’re also pleased to have our newly confirmed United States Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, outstanding man,” Trump said.

Grenell, who’s nomination had been pending since September, was confirmed in the Senate on a 56-42 largely party-line vote Thursday. Sources have told the Blade Merkel’s scheduled visit to the White House was a factor in breaking the log jam on his confirmation.

Pointing to Grenell in the audience during the news conference, Trump told his new appointee, “Congratulations. Do a great job, and I know you will. Thank you.”

Although Grenell is now the most high-profile openly gay appointee in the Trump administration, the Senate has confirmed others who aren’t as high-profile. Two were confirmed unanimously in the Senate: James Abbott, who was confirmed to the Federal Labor Relations Authority; and David Glawe, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump said the delay from Democrats on the confirmation of Grenell — which purportedly was over mean tweets he made about the appearance of women — is happening with many of his nominees and criticized Democrats.

“This confirmation was long overdue,” Trump said. “We’ve been waiting a long time for Richard to get his clearance, and he got it, and it’s going to be special, but we have a lot of people that are awaiting approval — and the Democrats have been treated us extremely unfairly and they’re going to have to move it along.”

The number of openly gay appointees in the Trump administration pales in comparison to the hundreds of LGBT appointees in the Obama administration, which also included transgender people. The openly LGBT appointees in the Obama years included Army Secretary Eric Fanning, Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Amanda Simpson.

Following the news conference, Trump retweeted from his Twitter account a White House a video of him congratulating Grenell at the event.

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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