US Senate confirms Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany | News | DW | 26.04.2018
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US Senate confirms Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany

Richard Grenell has become the new US ambassador to Germany after the US Senate confirmed his nomination. The confirmation comes a day before Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the White House.

The United States Senate voted 56-42 to confirm Richard Grenell, largely along party lines, to become the US ambassador to Germany.

Grenell, 51, worked as the US spokesperson at the United Nations from 2001-2008, serving four ambassadors — including John Bolton, now US President Donald Trump's national security adviser.

Read more: Who is Richard Grenell?

The United States, whose embassy is near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, has not had an ambassador since John Emerson left the post in January 2017. Grenell's confirmation comes on the eve of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the White House.

A longtime commentator on conservative broadcaster Fox News, Grenell was an early supporter of Trump's foreign policy.

Drawn-out process

Grenell became the first openly gay ambassador nominated by Trump when the US president put his nomination forward in September. But Grenell's nomination was delayed for months as opposition Democrats criticized his conservative positions.

The former UN spokesman has been strongly critical of the Iran nuclear deal, which Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have called on Trump not to abandon. He, like the US president, is very active on Twitter, and he has pinned a tweet on his Twitter profile criticizing the Paris Climate Agreement.

During Grenell's confirmation hearing, Senate Democrats cited his history of making statements insulting to women politicians, both on the internet and during his television appearances.

"Will he insult, via his Twitter account, the female chancellor of Germany? I don't know. I hope not," Senator Robert Menendez, a top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech opposing Grenell.

During his confirmation hearing, Grenell claimed he was trying to be funny, not insulting, and would not have made such statements while serving as a US official.

dv/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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