Richard Grenell
Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
2 min read

In a Tweet on Wednesday night, President Trump has named his first openly gay cabinet secretary Richard Grenell to the post of Acting Director of National Intelligence.

The current U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who’s currently the highest-ranking openly gay member of his administration and arguably the most senior openly gay official of any administration in U.S history, will be in charge of overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies and advising Trump and the national security adviser on measures related to national security.

Apart from his work with the Trump administration, he is also famous for a short-lived role as a member Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team in the 2012 Presidential Election when he was sacked by Romney for being gay and supporting same-sex marriage. Something Romney and his Christian backers were not happy with.

As the Ambassador to Germany, he has already been confirmed by the Senate, so won’t need to be re-confirmed to in an Acting role, unless Trump makes him the permanent Director which is unlikely given there are only 7 months left of this administration.

Axios explained that before being confirmed as ambassador to Germany, Grenell spent much of the previous two decades as a political adviser to Republicans, as the longest-serving U.S. spokesperson to the United Nations, and as the founder of Capitol Media Partners — a media and public affairs consultancy. Grenell has never worked for an intelligence agency.

In his capacity as U.S. ambassador to Germany, Grenell has spearheaded an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality in the more than 70 countries around the world where it remains illegal.

Earlier this year, he held an event at the United Nations on the initiative and named each of those countries, although other human rights groups in attendance were dubious about the Trump administration’s initiative.

Grenell, who had concurrently served as U.S. envoy for Serbia-Kosovo peace negotiations, is also credited with helping to negotiate with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci the first steps in the creation of a presidential commission on LGBT rights.

It remains to be seen what the state of the global initiative to decriminalize will be in the aftermath of Grenell’s appointment as head of U.S. intelligence.

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