Ric Grenell confirmed on Sunday that he'll be stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to Germany. He assumed the role in September 2017, before President Trump asked him to serve as the acting Director of National Intelligence this past February. He made it clear that he didn't want the full-time position, and was finally let off the hook once Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) was confirmed last week.
Grenell was famously tough as the ambassador to Germany. Even until his last tweet.
"You make a big mistake if you think the American pressure is off," Grenell wrote on Twitter on Sunday. "You don’t know Americans."
Dr. Andreas Nick, a member of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, regretted the outgoing ambassador's language. He suggested that Grenell is the first U.S. ambassador he's met that he neither trusts nor respects.
For a generation, each and every US Ambassador I got to know personally - career dipomat or political appointee alike - used to leave his post as a highly respected figure and trusted friend of Germany. Now someone leaves issuing threats as if he were representing a hostile power— Dr. Andreas Nick (@DrAndreasNick) May 25, 2020
Grenell knew exactly how to respond. Like President Trump, he was not afraid to tell other nations that they need to cough up on their NATO payments. And he is not about to apologize for it.
You always wanted me to stop asking you publicly to pay your NATO obligations and calling for an end to Nord Stream 2. But these are US policies. And I work for the American people. https://t.co/AK240eMM3H— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 25, 2020
In fact, Germany recently did agree to match what the U.S. contributes. Last November German officials announced that they would increase its share by another $36 million. Starting in 2021, Germany's share of the NATO budget covered will increase from 14.8 percent to 16.35 percent. A little pressure goes a long way.
Germany may not be thrilled with the bold, outgoing ambassador, but Trump is still one of Grenell's biggest fans.
"Richard Grenell is a superstar," President Trump said. "He had guts, he had courage to do what he did. Richard Grenell has done one of the best jobs I've ever seen."
Now we wait to see if the president hires Grenell for his re-election campaign or his administration.