President Donald Trump’s pick of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell for acting director of national intelligence (DNI) is an inspired one of great symbolic and substantive significance.
In staffing another crucial position in the executive branch with someone who genuinely shares his worldview, instincts, and tenacity, President Trump is signaling to the Trump-haters of the administrative state, and its Deep State apotheosis, that those who reject or actively seek to undermine his America First agenda will no longer be welcome in meaningful positions.
This is no minor statement because the establishmentarian Resistance, knowing that personnel is policy, has sought to stymie the president’s agenda by seeking to undermine if not destroy like-minded individuals the president has considered for top-level posts.
Consider that the effect, if not intent, of the still-going effort to ruin Gen. Michael Flynn. It has gone beyond punishing him for sharing the president’s views, having directly challenged the national security and foreign policy establishment, and threatening its power and privilege. Its aim was to send a message from the very start of the administration that the president’s actual supporters need not apply.
Substantively, after eight years spent during the George W. Bush administration engaging in diplomatic combat with the “jackals” of the United Nations as the longest-serving spokesman and appointee in U.S. history, Grenell has doggedly pursued the president’s agenda in the face of unrelenting defiance from the European Union’s (EU) most consequential power.
From Berlin, Grenell has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for the president’s policies, including:
- The maximum pressure campaign against Iran, among other things persuading German businesses to cease sanctions-skirting commercial relations with Iran in the critical sectors that serve and underwrite its malign efforts, and consistently pressuring it to stop appeasing the genocidal, Jew-hating regime;
- Lobbying against using Huawei infrastructure in developing the all-important fifth-generation (5G) networking technology, including making explicit to Germany that the United States will limit intelligence sharing on which it relies should it permit the Chinese Communist Party-backed (CCP) telecommunications behemoth to build its network—a message Grenell delivered to all nations on the heels of being named acting DNI director;
- Countering Russian efforts to increase leverage over European powers through delivering increased energy supplies, by firmly opposing Nord Stream 2, while helping successfully negotiate an agreement with Germany to open itself to U.S. liquefied natural gas, thereby creating competition for Russia in the energy market;
- Demanding that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies including Germany increase their commitments rather than free-riding on America’s dime, while adding insult to injury by again participating in projects like Nord Stream 2.
Grenell has undertaken these efforts unconstrained by political correctness, and singularly focused on achieving the administration’s objectives, which he self-evidently shares. Naturally then, as with others who have had the temerity to agree with the president they have committed to serve, like Attorney General Barr since at least the time he used “spying” to describe the surveillance the Obama administration deployed against candidate Trump, the vitriol to which Grenell will be subjected is great.
In fact, the attacks on Grenell commenced almost immediately after word broke of his appointment:
One by one, day by day, @realDonaldTrump is taking steps to destroy America’s fact-based institutions, at the same time he eviscerates rule of law. Appointing as @ODNIgov @RichardGrenell, who has politicized every issue he has touched & has contempt for facts, would be a travesty
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) February 19, 2020
Trump is putting together an All-Odious Team with Pompeo, Barr, Grenell and of course, himself, his family, Stephen Miller, etc. Really, one of the most repulsive collections of people in American history. https://t.co/AZSf8Q3SJC
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 19, 2020
Reminder: Jim Clapper spent 50 years in intelligence, headed two agencies, and served as the Under Sec of intel at the Pentagon before becoming DNI. Ric Grenell was … a notably rude Twitter troll. https://t.co/ST1adUqJJR
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) February 19, 2020
Grennell as DNI, Pompeo at State, O'Brien at NSC. Better hope that if there's a crisis, Mark Esper and CJCS can overcome that bunch. Remember, I'm the guy that doesn't do the Panic Dance, but if this is who's on deck for a crisis, we're in deep trouble.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 19, 2020
The level of hatred is commensurate with the merit of the pick. It is a feather in Grenell’s cap, and only further validates the wisdom of the president’s decision.
For the animus merely reflects that the president’s foes recognize his elevation of Grenell to acting DNI means a real challenge to many in the senior ranks of the intelligence community (IC) who have proven hostile to the president, rather than faithfully serving him. The attempt to portray the ambassador as some kind of toady betrays the fact the critics’ real fear is the president being served by those truly devoted to his agenda—that is, that he be afforded the same privileges as every other president.
Grenell will no doubt have his work cut out for him in overseeing some who will seek to undercut him to protect their turf from an executive they believe has infringed upon it. But Grenell’s experience both in navigating a hostile UN, and grappling with the seminal national security and foreign policy issues of our time in the face of a recalcitrant German government, will no doubt serve him well.
For President Trump to advance his agenda—an agenda on which the American people elected him—his IC must serve him, faithfully. On the basis of his worldview, temperament, and experience, Grenell is well-suited to ensure it does so, in the process achieving the president’s objectives.
Those objectives are the ones the American people voted for—not those the establishment elites who have warred against him, and by extension us, have sought to impose upon the country.