Richard Grenell was a terrible choice for acting director of national intelligence—which is precisely why Donald Trump chose him. It’s like when Trump is rudely confronted with a salad bar and has to choose between piling fresh greens on his plate or bobbing for stray croutons in the ranch dressing trough. His squishy id will wail like a toddler until he picks the most immediately gratifying option.
In the case of Grenell, Trump liked the way he looked on the teevee. Normally, that would be reason enough for Trump to pull the trigger, but Grenell was also a reliable flunky-in-waiting—which was something the ocher abomination simply couldn’t resist.
As The Washington Post put it in February 2020—shortly after the hire was made—Trump was dazzled by Grenell’s “sycophantic pandering.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S campaign to purge the government of anyone not blindly loyal to him continued Wednesday with the appointment of Richard Grenell as acting director of national intelligence. Mr. Grenell, who currently serves as ambassador to Germany, is manifestly unqualified for the job, even in an acting capacity. He has no experience in intelligence or in managing large organizations — like the 17 agencies that will now report to him.
Mr. Grenell has nevertheless won the president’s favor in a familiar way: by loudly praising him and his agenda on Fox News programs and social media. Probably, he has convinced Mr. Trump he can be counted on to put the president’s personal and political interests above those of national security — something the two previous DNIs would not reliably do.
Well, yeah, that tracks. Another reason Trump liked him? Grenell is likely a white supremacist.
Amidst a Twitter squabble with Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Eric Swalwell on Friday, former Mike Pence aide and born again anti-Trumper Olivia Troye spilled the tea on Grenell’s extremist leanings.
The exchange started with a racist jab at Lieu and ended with me wondering why Vladimir Putin has yet to act to de-Nazify the United States.
For the nontweeters:
GRENELL: “Ted LIEu spent years delivering the Beijing line that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
“China celebrated his lies. @tedlieu”
LIEU: “Dear @RichardGrenell: I served on active duty to defend your right to say stupid stuff.
“To the extent you now randomly mention China because of my race, then you’re saying stupid, racist shit.
“Also, did you come up with LIEu all by yourself? Impressive.”
Grenell’s take is a little ironic, of course, given that Donald Trump spent years delivering the Moscow line that … well, pick one. He delivered every conceivable Moscow line at one time or another. But, hey, maybe Putin was actually a good guy all along until President Biden pushed him too far by refusing to pull the U.S. out of NATO as Trump had promised.
Before long, Rep. Swalwell entered the fray with some genuinely astonishing info about Grenell, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany.
For the nontweeters:
Okay, well, that’s alarming. A U.S. ambassador to Germany was allegedly rubbing greasy elbows with bona fide Nazis? That’s not a good look.
Oh, but it gets better. Enter Troye, who broke with the Trump administration before the 2020 election over its shambolic and unserious response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the nontweeters:
LIEU: “To be honest, I don’t really know much about Grennell [sic]. (I just view him as a boring internet troll). Do you have proof of this?”
TROYE: “I do. While in his role as Ambassador, Grennell tried to get Mike Pence to attend a white supremacist gathering during one of his overseas trips.”
Wait, is Pence white enough for a white supremacist gathering? (I’m only kidding, of course. If he were any whiter, Elmer’s Glue might sue him for trademark infringement.)
I assume Mother put the kibosh on any Nazi picnics Pence might have wanted to attend, so the only story here is that one of the Trump administration’s top intelligence advisers may very well have been a Nazi sympathizer. You know, regular stuff.
But hey, this country has some totally made-up Republican crises to attend to—like critical race theory and Mr. Potato Head’s unceremoniously french-fried schwanzstucker—so we’ll get to purging Nazis from our government a bit later.
Makes total sense, right?
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