German Diplomat Failed to Understand Amb Richard Grenell on Shirking NATO Dues; Rep Paul Gosar "Translates" It for Him

AP Photo/Michael Sohn

As many people know, since before he was elected, President Donald Trump has made it no secret what he thinks of NATO…and the countries that don’t pull their weight when it comes to paying their share of dues. Now, a diplomat from one of those countries seems to be throwing a fit in a very public way.

Before Richard Grenell took on the mantle of acting director of national intelligence (DNI), he’s served at the pleasure of the president as ambassador to Germany since 2018. As he’s leaving the administration as acting DNI, his post as our ambassador is ending, too. But his time in Berlin has ruffled feathers, including back in March when Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy speaker of Germany’s Bundestag, called for the country’s foreign minister to “expel” Grenell from the country, as Politico reported:

Kubicki, who is also vice president of the Free Democratic Party, demanded the U.S. diplomat’s expulsion after Grenell criticized the budget of Germany’s finance minister and said it is unacceptable that Germany is on track to miss a NATO defense spending target.

The ambassador, who was the United States’ first, openly LGBT, cabinet secretary,  has also come under fire during his tenure from European, gay rights activists for… ambassadoring-while-Conservative, I guess.

Now, Dr. Andreas Nick, who leads the German Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has decided to take Grenell’s exit as an opportunity to show off to his likeminded countrymen. Plus, it lets him revive the beef that German diplomat has with Grenell — and more widely, President Trump’s stance that Germany and many NATO members should be forking over their fair share  — and Germany specifically should stop playing footsie with Russia.

 

He wrote:

For a generation, each and every US Ambassador I got to know personally – career dipomat [sic] 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.

Just an hour and change later, Ambassador Grenell shot back:

He corrected Nick’s spin on things, writing, “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.”

The Washington Examiner reports that Ambassador Grenell was simply restating Pres. Trump’s and the U.S.’s stance on Germany’s actions:

Grenell responded by claiming Nick wanted him to stop demanding that Germany pay more into NATO. He also said Nick wanted the United States to cease its opposition to Germany’s deal with Russia to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to transport Russian oil.

Now, Congressman Paul Gosar (R), who represents my home state of Arizona’s 4th district and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has offered to translate what Ambassador Grenell said for Nick– even though, as he put it, his “German is rusty”:

In a tweet Monday morning, he wrote:

My German is rusty but I think the message is “payen ihre fricken bills” “Germany is far from meeting a pledge by NATO members to spend 2% of national output on defense by 2024. 7 NATO countries meet the 2% target – the US, Britain, Greece, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania,Estonia.”

I must admit that I don’t know a lick of German (I took French in school), and your knowledge of the Teutonic tongue may be just as non-existent, but that’s perfectly clear to me.

What’s your take? Leave your thoughts in the comments area below!

Update [5/26/20, 1:22 a.m.]: This article has been edited to correct an error. It previously stated that Wolfgang Kubicki was Germany’s foreign minister. We regret the error.