Democrats: Confirm Trump’s openly gay ambassador now

Democrats: Confirm Trump’s openly gay ambassador now

By Ellen Ratner   

LOS ANGELES — It is a shame that the supposedly Democratic senators will not approve an openly gay Trump appointee to be the ambassador to Germany. In addition, Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade has gone after Richard Grenell and, in my view, he’s done so unfairly. But it plays well with his reading audience.

There is supposedly a “hold” on Grenell’s nomination, and it looks like it is coming from the Democrats, perhaps from Sen. Chuck Schumer himself. We come from a multicultural society, and I know Grenell. We disagree about politics.

I have been to Germany twice in the last few years, and I feel it is important that the U.S. have an ambassador there. Someone who is openly gay can make a huge difference in Germany.

Much is said about how the Nazis persecuted Jews. Being Jewish and having lost 101 relatives in the Holocaust, I can attest to that. Little is known about how Hitler also persecuted and killed gay people. It was easy to round up homosexuals, as some of the first homosexual organizations were founded in Germany. Gay groups were banned in 1933.

A gay Jewish intellectual and physician Magnus Hirschfeld began an institute known as the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. When I walked through Auschwitz for the first time, a survivor complained to me that her Hollywood son was unmarried. I asked if he was gay, and she became so insulted that she told everyone on the trip that I had dared to ask her something like that. Homosexuals in the camps were considered “the men in the pink triangles” and were denigrated by other camp members for being gay.

The supposed reason that Richard Grenell’s nomination is being held up is not because he is gay (although I suspect that having an openly gay ambassador will run counter to the perception that Trump is anti-gay) but because he sent out some tweets that were considered anti-women. He is someone who has a sense of humor, and now any humor is considered bad.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very caring person and very sensitive – and I also appreciate good humor,” said Grenell. “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.”

He deleted tweets that were said to be anti-women. But to look at past tweets, he also goes after men. I am a “#MeToo” person, but we can’t be so politically correct that we overlook going after men as well as women. Not that either is OK, but we need to be fair.

Richard Grenell has the approval of out gay people in elected office – even some Democrats!

Democrat LGBT leaders in California have supported Grenell, including the Democratic mayor of Palm Springs and Nicole Murray-Ramirez. Murray-Ramirez, a Latino, has been a gay activist for 45 years, serving in roles as past national board member of the Human Rights Campaign, past national chair of LLEGO, the national chair of Stonewall 25, and the only gay activist in the country who has been elected to all four national boards of the Marches on Washington, D.C. He is the past state chair of Equality California and is currently serving a four-year term on the national board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Grenell has an impressive biography as the longest serving U.S. spokesman at the U.N. in history, former national security spokesman to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and the first openly gay spokesman for a Republican nominee for president.

Breitbart News reported in February: “The Log Cabin Republicans protested against the stalling of openly gay diplomat Richard Grenell’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to Germany, Thursday, followed by Donald Trump Jr. adding his voice to the matter.

“‘It is simply unconscionable that @RichardGrenell hasn’t been brought up for a vote in the United States Senate to confirm him as our country’s Ambassador to Germany,’ declared the Log Cabin Republicans in a post on Twitter, before encouraging people to call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and complain. ‘It’s time to #ConfirmGrenell NOW!’”

We live in a country that has many points of view. We can agree to disagree, but to not confirm an openly gay ambassador is shameful It is time the Democrats get with the program and confirm someone to a post where being openly gay is a statement about how we regard differences in the U.S. Schumer and the Democrats need to move on this nomination now.

I am a liberal, and Richard Grenell’s politics and mine are not in sync; however, having an openly gay nominee as the ambassador to Germany is something Democrats in the Senate should not pass up.

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