Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has notified the White House that he will resign from his role as U.S. Ambassador to Germany once Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) is confirmed by the Senate to the position.
Grenell notified the White House of his decision after President Donald Trump tapped Ratcliffe to be the next Director of National Intelligence.
Grenell was planning on coming home this spring but agreed to stay in the administration until a permanent DNI replacement could be nominated and confirmed.
Reached by phone, Grenell confirmed the news, saying, “Yes, it’s true. We were planning on coming home soon.”
Trump was widely praised by his supporters for naming Grenell, who holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, to the temporary role of acting DNI.
Grenell is also widely viewed as Trump’s favorite ambassador because of his aggressive efforts to advance the president’s agenda overseas.
“The mandate of a diplomat is usually to be diplomatic. Trumpian foreign policy is obviously more confrontational,” said former Senior Trump Adviser Cliff Sims. “Ric is willing to be publicly confrontational with his host country if it’s in America’s national interest in a way that is not typical historically but directly reflects the way Trump operates.”
Top Trump supporters praised Trump’s decision to name Grenell to acting DNI last month:
- Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: “An amazing choice!!! @realDonaldTrump deserves someone he can trust and someone who knows how to get things done in this position. Congrats @RichardGrenell go get em.”
- Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) tweeted: “A great Patrot, exceptional Ambassador, and amazing selection to be the US’ next Acting Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador @RichardGrenell! Congratulations!!”
- Former White House Adviser Andrew Surabian tweeted: “Great pick by the President. @RichardGrenell is a total rockstar and 100% all in on the President’s America First agenda. PS: Can you imagine how triggered Clapper, Brennan and Comey are right now over this?”
- Former Senior Trump Adviser Cliff Sims tweeted: “For the last two decades, @RichardGrenell has worked at the highest levels of international affairs and national security. Total home run pick by @realDonaldTrump , and a big win for the American people.”
In 2018, Grenell played a key role in advancing a directive from the president to have the last known Nazi collaborator hiding in the U.S. deported back to Germany.
ABC News reported at the time, “According to a source familiar with the matter, Trump told U.S. Ambassador to Germany @RichardGrenell to make Palij’s deportation his number one priority when he got to Berlin.”
“President @realDonaldTrump’s instructions were clear and his leadership crucial to getting a former Nazi guard deported from the U.S.,” Grenell said at the time. “Our President is focused on protecting the promise of freedom and the rule of law.”
President @realDonaldTrump's instructions were clear and his leadership crucial to getting a former Nazi guard deported from the U.S. Our President is focused on protecting the promise of freedom and the rule of law. https://t.co/h9cs99kwkX
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 21, 2018
This report has been updated to include additional information.