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One of Donald Trump’s only gay officials, Richard Grenell, is stepping down as ambassador to Germany

Nick Duffy May 25, 2020
Trump ambassador Richard Grenell is facing scrutiny

Trump ambassador Richard Grenell (Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Gay ambassador Richard Grenell, one of the only out LGBT+ officials appointed by Donald Trump, is reportedly set to step down.

On social media, Grenell appeared to confirm reports from German newspaper Die Welt that he is set to depart the role after two years.

Grenell has been standing in as the acting Director of National Intelligence since February, but opted not to return to Berlin as he prepares to cede the intelligence role to John Ratcliffe.

His departure was welcomed by lawmakers in Germany, with whom he has had a tense and frosty relationship – most notably facing condemnation for giving an interview to a far-right outlet and vowing to work to “empower” anti-immigration movements “throughout Europe”.

CDU official Dr Andreas Nick said: “For a generation, each and every US ambassador I got to know personally – career diplomat or political appointee alike – used to leave his post as a highly respected figure and trusted friend of Germany. Now someone leaves issuing threats as if he were representing a hostile power.”

Richard Grenell promised campaign to decriminalise homosexuality – but it doesn’t exist

Grenell once promised a push to decriminalise homosexuality across the globe, saying: “Seventy-one countries criminalise homosexuality and eight will put you to death for being gay. The Trump administration is launching a new push with our European allies to end this human rights outrage.”

However, although much-touted by gay Trump supporters, there is little evidence that any such US-led “global campaign to decriminalise homosexuality” ever existed beyond an initial press release.

Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany
Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany (DANIEL BOCKWOLDT/AFP/Getty)

Donald Trump himself has previously admitted he doesn’t have a clue about any such effort.

Trump Ambassador has ties to Hungary’s far-right transphobic government.

It emerged in February that Grenell has financial links to Hungary’s far-right government.

The Washington Post reported that Grenell failed to register as a foreign agent in 2016 while advising the Magyar Foundation, which is “almost entirely” funded by Viktor Orbán’s far-right government.

His work for the Hungary-linked group was not disclosed on a list of clients on a public financial disclosure form for his appointment.

Orbán is considered one of the foremost racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic world leaders.

Just this month, the Hungarian government pushed through a bill to end all legal gender recognition for trans people, an unprecedented measure which activists says will plunge Hungary “back towards the dark ages” for LGBT+ people.

More: Donald Trump, Gay, Germany, richard grenell

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