The newly confirmed U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell — also the most high-profile openly gay official in the Trump administration — has issued a warning on Twitter to German businesses that some say is reminiscent of the antagonistic tweets that landed him in hot water during his confirmation process.
Following President Trump’s announcement — widely criticized by Democrats and U.S. allies — that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, Grenell took to Twitter to advise Germany, one of the six countries that spearheaded the deal, that its businesses should cease operations in Iran.
As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2018
Grenell’s warning to German businesses comes during the same week he was set to depart for the U.S. embassy in Germany and shortly after his confirmation and swearing in as ambassador by Vice President Mike Pence.
Antagonistic tweets about the appearance of women and hyping the John Podesta email dump on Wikileaks in the 2016 election were the main cited causes of opposition to his confirmation in the Senate.
The warning to German businesses sparked critical reaction from political observers on Twitter who said the comment is consistent with Grenell’s earlier tweets.
On the Senate floor during Grenell’s confirmation, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) warned the chamber Grenell’s history on Twitter may be a harbinger of things to come if he’s confirmed as ambassador to Germany.
“Not only do these tweets show bad judgement, they show us who Mr. Grenell really is and how comfortable he is publicly contributing his own brand of toxic political discourse,” Menendez said. “Will he do such things if he is confirmed and goes to Germany? Will he insult, via his Twitter account, the female Chancellor of Germany? I don’t know. I hope not.”
Here’s a selection of the tweets on Grenell’s warning:
Grenell starts his mission with all the subtle diplomatic skills he demonstrated with his twitter account https://t.co/aNSwasVtya
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) May 8, 2018
I appreciate that Richard Grenell is using Twitter as ambassador to Germany the same way he’s been using it for the last decade. https://t.co/SkXIAmF1ed
— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@jonathanweisman) May 8, 2018
or what? we’ll sanction our allies? Does Grenell even know if that is our policy?
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) May 8, 2018
Bradford Elder, a spokesperson for the Germany embassy in the United States, said the mission does “not have a comment on this at this time” on the Grenell’s tweet.