Richard Grenell, a former Fox News commentator, had some explaining to do during his confirmation hearing to become U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) took issue with remarks openly gay Grenell made on Twitter, mocking the appearance of women. Much like his future boss, Grenell has a history of misogynistic Twitter trolling at the expense of women, including Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.
Murphy refrained from repeating the insults Grenell had hurled at women but according to The Washington Blade, they consisted of a couple of insults aimed at Rachel Maddow in which he wrote, she “needs to take a breath and put on a necklace.” He also said she looked like Justin Bieber in another tweet. Other women he insulted included Calista Gingrich, who he accused of having hair that she “snaps on.”
He insulted two women with one tweet when he said: “Hillary is starting to look like Madeleine Albright.”
Murphy said the “litany of derogatory comments about women’s personal appearances” were among the “very inflammatory things” said by the nominee, asking him if he regrets the statement and can understand the concern about the impact they’ll have on his role in Germany.
Grenell said it was “never my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings” and denied the comments were representative of his character.
“Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very caring person and very sensitive — and I also appreciate good humor,” Grenell said. “Unfortunately, there are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous, and, again, that was never my intention and I regret that.”
“I understood that when you are speaking as a U.S. official, it’s not your opinion that you are pushing, but it’s a well-thought-out U.S. policy,” Grenell said. “I can simply say that going back into the State Department, I look forward to taking on that role again where it’s well-thought-out U.S. policy, not my personal opinion.”
In his opening testimony at the Senate confirmation hearing, Richard Grenell publicly thanked his partner of 15 years Matt Lashey, “for his many sacrifices, but most of all, for his incredible love and support. Throughout every challenge and opportunity, Matt has supported and encouraged me every step of the way. I would not be able to serve the President and the American people without Matt’s commitment and help.”