Pence swears in Grenell as ambassador to Germany

Richard Grenell, the new U.S. ambassador to Germany, was officially sworn in Thursday by Vice President Pence.

Pence praised Grenell for his experience, calling him "uniquely qualified" for the post.

"With Ambassador Grenell leading our diplomatic mission to Germany, we're going to confront shared challenges, seek our shared opportunities and build a shared future with our allies and friends in Germany," Pence said.

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Grenell was joined at the ceremony by his family and his longtime partner, Matt Lashey, who held the Bible while Pence read the oath of office.

Grenell previously served as the U.S. spokesman to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.

The Senate confirmed Grenell last week in a 56-42 vote, one day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House.

His nomination as ambassador to Germany became a point of tension in recent weeks, as President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE blamed Democrats in the Senate for blocking the nomination.

Trump first nominated Grenell in September, but had to renominate him in January after the Senate failed to confirm him by the end of 2017.

Grenell on Thursday praised Trump and his negotiation skills and expressed support for the president's agenda.

"[Trump] is a man who's totally focused on the American people, and I promise as part of the administration, to keep my focus on the American people and to make sure that I represent you well," Grenell said.

President Trump and Merkel have not always seen eye to eye on policy issues since Trump took office.

Trump has gone against the German chancellor in his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and in his threats to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

During his campaign, Trump once referred to Merkel as the person who "is ruining Germany."