Though it took nearly seven months to be realized, the confirmation of President Trump’s inspired pick of Richard “Ric” Grenell to serve as the U. S. ambassador to Germany is now a fait accompli, and deservedly so.
After a delay seemingly as interminable as the fruitless Russia probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, obstreperous Democrats finally folded Thursday when the Senate voted 56-42 to make Grenell our ambassador to Germany.
Grenell has proven himself more than up to the task of his present charge. He has worked for four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, including a distinguished tenure working alongside current National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Grenell also happens to be gay, and a longtime member and supporter of Log Cabin Republicans. His confirmation marks a major milestone: Grenell has now become the highest ranking openly gay official in any Republican administration in American history.
Log Cabin Republicans – the nation’s largest organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, where I serve as president – led the charge for months pushing for Grenell’s confirmation.
The vote happened not a moment too soon, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit the White House Friday. A rudderless U.S. Embassy in Germany would have been a national embarrassment. But the fact that Grenell’s confirmation was allowed to languish this long is a national embarrassment unto itself.
In his confirmation hearing, Grenell emphasized issues of importance to the Trump administration such as strengthening security, addressing trade imbalances and boosting investment in the United States. Furthermore, he exhibited his willingness to strike a balance between the priorities of the Trump administration and constructive engagement with Germany.
In supporting Grenell’s nomination, Log Cabin Republicans were joined by prominent conservative voices. They included talk show host Hugh Hewitt; the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr.; journalist Greta Van Susteren; American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp; Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah; former George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleisher; Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist; and Independent Women’s Forum Chairwoman Heather Higgins.
With the exception of Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, the only LGBT advocacy organization that stepped up in support of Grenell’s nomination was Log Cabin Republicans.
Whatever on Earth could be the reason for the silence of the LGBT left on what by all accounts is a landmark moment in gay history?
The question, of course, is rhetorical. With Grenell’s confirmation, the left loses yet another arrow in their quiver to assail President Trump with their tired accusations of anti-gay animus.
The president’s pick of Grenell was not accidental: Germany is well-known for a more egalitarian approach in today’s pluralistic society. It legalized marriage equality last October and has seen increasing numbers of high-ranking German politicians openly declaring their sexual orientation.
As a conservative Christian who happens to be gay, Grenell’s position as ambassador to Germany could well serve to bridge the divide between depressingly polarized LGBT and religious communities – in both Germany and the United States.
Democratic obstructionists in the Senate centered their obstinate blockade of Grenell’s confirmation on a picayune fixation with past impolitic tweets by Grenell for which he has atoned. Even if their motivations in that regard were sincere, it would mark a new low in political pettiness from Democrats who have now shown that their support of the LGBT community does not apply if you are a gay Republican in the good graces of President Trump.
My tenure as the head of Log Cabin Republicans began in the midst of a campaign calling President Obama’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to account for his opposition to the nomination of a gay ambassador to Luxembourg while serving in the Senate. History will be a harsh judge of the Democrats who made the same mistake standing in the way of Grenell’s confirmation as ambassador to Germany.
The long-overdue confirmation of Ric Grenell also represents another milestone: For the first time in history, an openly gay ambassador was not confirmed “in spite of” Republicans, or simply “with Republican support.” Grenell is now our ambassador to Germany because of Republican support.