Richard Grenell, who became the first openly gay man to serve in a president’s Cabinet after being designated acting director of national intelligence (DNI) last year, congratulated Pete Buttigieg on becoming the second after he was confirmed to head the Transportation Department by the Senate on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to @PeteButtigieg on becoming the second openly gay member of a President’s Cabinet. Welcome to the club!” he tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
Richard GrenellRichard GrenellBiden names nominee for US ambassador to Germany Grenell still interested in California recall bid Cleveland businessman jumps into Ohio Senate race: Trump 'victories' need to be protected MORE (@RichardGrenell) February 2, 2021
The Senate confirmed Buttigieg to lead the department in a 86-13 vote earlier on Tuesday. While he is only the second openly gay person to serve as member of a president's Cabinet in the nation’s history, he is the first to be Senate-confirmed.
The former ambassador to Germany also criticized news outlets for their coverage of Buttigieg’s confirmation, which often played up the history-making aspects of Tuesday's Senate vote.
“Fake news,” Grenell said in a response to the post by ABC News.
Fake news. https://t.co/CHWyF4yxPI— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) February 2, 2021
Grenell, a staunch supporter of Trump's, had previously served as U.S. ambassador to Germany and retained that position after being named to lead the intelligence community. For that ambassadorship, Grenell was confirmed by the Senate in April 2018.
At the time, the appointment prompted concerns among Democrats and career officials who expressed doubts about his qualifications for the position and pointed to past comments he made about wanting to “empower” conservative leaders “throughout Europe.”
“There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on,” Grenell told Breitbart in a 2018 interview.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe was sworn in as Grenell’s successor in late May. Days later, Grenell also stepped down from his ambassador role.