Trump DNI Pick Ric Grenell Excites Conservatives, Outrages Democrats


President Trump’s pick of Ambassador Ric Grenell as acting Deputy Director of National Intelligence has excited conservatives and outraged Democrats.

Trump announced Wednesday he was naming Grenell to the post via Twitter, after it was first reported by the New York Times:

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listed some of his top credentials in a statement on Thursday:

Today, the President designated United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as Acting Director of National Intelligence. Ambassador Grenell was confirmed to his role as Ambassador by the Senate in April 2018, and he has years of experience working with our Intelligence Community in a number of additional positions, including as Special Envoy for Serbia-Kosovo Negotiations and as United States spokesman to the United Nations. He is committed to a non-political, non-partisan approach as head of the Intelligence Community, on which our safety and security depend. The President has every confidence that Ambassador Grenell will perform his new duties with distinction.

Grenell is also a Harvard University graduate who advised Mitt Romney on foreign policy during his 2012 campaign. He is also the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history.

House Minority Leader Keven McCarthy praised his pick, as did other House Republicans:

But news of his appointment triggered Democrats, who portrayed Grenell as being unqualified.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), vice chair of the Intelligence Committee, called Grenell “an individual without any intelligence experience.” The Obama administration’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, tweeted that Grenell has “politicized every issue he has touched.” Actress and activist Mia Farrow tweeted that his appointment was “SCARY”:

National Security Action, an organization founded by former Obama administration national security officials, claimed that the appointment was “the latest example of Trump placing his own personal interests ahead of the national interest” — an accusation that was leveled at Trump over his wanting Ukraine to investigate corruption involving Democrats and the Bidens.

And American Oversight, a group that began investigating the Trump administration’s handling of Ukraine even before the impeachment effort began, tweeted that it has already put in a request to see who Grenell has been meeting with as ambassador to Germany.

Grenell’s being seen as a “loyalist,” however, comes as a big relief to his supporters, especially after an impeachment effort that began when a CIA analyst, alleged to be Eric Ciaramella, filed a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general based on complaints from other officials.

Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group, said on Fox Business Live on Wednesday:

I love Ric Grenell, I think this is a fantastic move by the president. He’s had so much trouble with people in the intelligence community undermining him and leaking to the press, and all these things. He needs someone sitting atop that giant mess making sure the intelligence community supports the president’s intelligence, goals, and U.S. policy. Ric Grenell will do that.

Fox Business Live host Lou Dobbs added:

I agree. Ric Grenell has been throughout loyal to the president, outspoken, fiercely an advocate of the United States and our interests in Europe without compromise. I have to say my hat’s off to him for the way he’s performed in Germany, and I think he’ll be, as do you and I’m delighted to hear you say that, a great DNI.

Many other conservative figures weighed in on support for Grenell:

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