Trump's new intelligence director has never worked in intel but has a 'gold Trump card' in his pocket
Donald Trump on Thursday officially appointed Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, putting a man with zero intelligence experience in charge of the country's intelligence agencies.
Grenell currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Germany. And because he has already been confirmed by the Senate in that role, the law says Trump can move him to any other role within the government without needing to go before the Senate again for approval.
And that works out for Trump, as Grenell — who became well known as a Twitter troll for feuding with reporters on the social media platform — might have a hard time earning confirmation for a job he has no experience in.
"Ambassador Grenell was confirmed to his role as Ambassador by the Senate in April 2018, and he has years of experience working with our Intelligence Community in a number of additional positions, including as Special Envoy for Serbia-Kosovo Negotiations and as United States spokesman to the United Nations," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Thursday.
"He is committed to a non-political, non-partisan approach as head of the Intelligence Community, on which our safety and security depend," Grisham continued. "The President has every confidence that Ambassador Grenell will perform his new duties with distinction."
However, working as an ambassador and spokesman is not national intelligence experience.
But Grenell does have experience spending thousands of dollars at Trump's hotel chain. According to the Washington Post, Grenell has a "Trump Card" at the "Gold" level, which earns him exclusive benefits, including discounted spa treatments and complimentary upgrades.
Trump has spent much of his time in office criticizing the national intelligence community, especially as it unanimously concluded, based on evidence and investigation, that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help boost Trump's election chances.
Democrats, for their part, immediately criticized Grenell's appointment.
"It appears the President has selected an individual *without any intelligence experience* to serve as the leader of the nation’s intelligence community in an acting capacity," Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted.
Warner added, "The intelligence community deserves stability and an experienced individual to lead them in a time of massive national and global security challenges."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Emily Singer.