Trump taps loyalist Grenell as nation's top intel official

Trump taps loyalist Grenell as nation's top intel official”

"His actions have an audience of one: the USA president", the lawmaker told the news agency.

President Donald Trump has named U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to serve as the next acting director of national intelligence, in a move celebrated by the president's supporters and slammed by his critics.

Grenell, a loyal and outspoken Trump supporter, has been US ambassador to Germany since 2018.

Trump had a strained relationship with Dan Coats, who stepped down as director of national intelligence in August.

In August Grenell told Germany's dpa news agency that Germany's reluctance to spend more on defense and its continued reliance on US troops for protection was "offensive".

Grenell received a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and completed a bachelor degree at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, according to his biography posted on the State Department's website.

A year ago at the United Nations General Assembly, Grenell said he's "proud" to serve a president who has achieved the "perfect balance" between restraint and use of force. The Michigan native is also a former spokesman at the United Nations and worked on the 2012 presidential campaign of Sen.

The president's pick was announced by Trump on Twitter, bringing into the cabinet its first openly gay secretary.

He has also vocally backed Trump's position that Germany is not spending its fair share on NATO's collective defense of Europe.

One German lawmaker told Reuters this month that Grenell was less concerned about building closer ties with Germany than trying to please Trump.

Late previous year, the German magazine Der Spiegel accused Grenell of meddling in the country's internal affairs when he appeared on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight to criticize Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy. He still tweets assiduously and he never seems to say no when Fox News calls, but in Berlin, he has largely become isolated. Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Trump "selected an individual without any intelligence experience to serve as the leader of the nation's intelligence community in an acting capacity", AP reports. "... Now more than ever our country needs a Senate-confirmed intelligence director who will provide the best intelligence and analysis, regardless of whether or not it's expedient for the president who has appointed him".

News of Grenell's appointment to a critical, nonpartisan cabinet post unleashed a fierce backlash online, as many critics criticized his notable lack of national security experience as well as his unapologetically brash partisan attacks.

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