Tweet Brings Sour Start to US Ambassador's First Day

Richard Grenell raised some ire in Germany
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2018 9:22 AM CDT
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and US Embassador in Germany, Richard Allen Grenell, left, pose for the media during Grenell's akkreditation at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany,...   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

(Newser) – Richard Grenell's first day on the job may not have gone exactly how he imagined it. The brand new US ambassador to Germany arrived in Berlin on Tuesday, and in the span of little more than an hour, three things occurred: Grenell handed his credentials to Germany's president, President Trump announced the end of America's participation in the Iran nuclear deal, and Grenell raised some German ire. It's all due to this tweet, made shortly after Trump spoke: "As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately." Reuters notes Grenell has himself long-opposed the nuclear deal.

That sentiment aligns with the White House's—indeed, Grenell, a former Fox News contributor who Page Six notes had an "A-list" going away bash, subsequently tweeted that he directly lifted the language from documentation provided to him by the administration. But the Washington Post observes that "the timing and tone struck some German politicians, journalists and businessmen as offensive and inappropriate." It characterizes the tweet as coming off as a threat and rounds up plenty of reaction, including this from the leader of the country's Social Democratic party: "It’s not my task to teach people about the fine art of diplomacy, especially not the US ambassador. But he does appear to need some tutoring." Grenell, the administration's top-ranking openly gay official, fills an ambassadorship that has been empty for 16 months.

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