House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday decried U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell’s appointment as acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI), claiming the Harvard-educated diplomat’s “sole qualification” for the post is his “absolute loyalty” to President Donald Trump.
“Our troops, the patriots of our intelligence community and the American people deserve a smart, strong national security policy. Sadly, President Trump has once again put his political interests ahead of America’s national security interests by appointing an Acting Director of National Intelligence whose sole qualification is his absolute loyalty to the President,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“America needs an experienced, qualified and Senate-confirmed national security professional, particularly as the independence and credibility of the intelligence community have come under attack from the White House itself,” she continued.
“Once again, the President has shown his contempt for our Constitution’s system of checks and balances by sidestepping the Senate’s constitutional authority of confirmation with the installation of another Acting official that he knows cannot be confirmed even in a Republican-controlled Senate,” she concluded.
Pelosi’s statement comes after President Trump named Grenell as acting DNI on Wednesday evening, stating that he represents the United States “exceedingly well.” In the announcement, the president praised current acting DNI Joseph Maguire for doing a “wonderful job” and hinted he could find himself in another role within the administration.
Grenell, the first openly gay member of Trump’s administration, is one of the president’s most vocal defenders and played a key role in convincing Germany to boost its spending on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from one percent of its GDP up to two percent by 2031.
Grenell’s appointment was met with praise by Trump allies both inside and outside Washington:
“An amazing choice!!! @realDonaldTrump deserves someone he can trust and someone who knows how to get things done in this position,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted of the move. “Congrats @RichardGrenell go get em.”
An amazing choice!!! @realDonaldTrump deserves someone he can trust and someone who knows how to get things done in this position.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 19, 2020
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) wrote: “A great Patrot [sic], exceptional Ambassador, and amazing selection to be the US’ next Acting Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador @RichardGrenell! Congratulations!!”
A great Patrot, exceptional Ambassador, and amazing selection to be the US’ next Acting Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador @RichardGrenell! Congratulations!!
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 19, 2020