Richard Grenell, the gay man who served as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany and acting Director of National Intelligence, has announced that he will not run in the California recall election. Grenell’s decision leaves former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman, as the only LGBTQ person in the race.
Until being elevated by former President Donald Trump, Grenell was known as a Twitter troll who regularly attacked women and Democrats. Since leaving the post, he has resumed lobbing insults and lies about political opponents. He has remained an ardent Trump supporter.
Grenell served as acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a cabinet-level position, and has repeatedly tried to paint himself as the first gay Cabinet member. When Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate and made history, the unpopular ambassador made passive-aggressive remarks online insinuating he came first.
Grenell only held the seat until the actual DNI was confirmed and even continued to serve as ambassador at the same time. Germans despised Grenell and actively shunned him; he resigned from the post after being replaced as acting DNI.
As German ambassador, Grenell announced a new federal initiative to decriminalize homosexuality around the world and said it demonstrated Trump’s commitment to civil rights and the LGBTQ community. Asked about it by reporters, Trump admitted he didn’t know anything about it.
The Trump administration would go on to push new rules that would allow discrimination against queer people in multiple areas – from medical care to parenting to where transgender people can use the restroom. The administration was the most actively anti-LGBTQ in history.