US Senate confirms ambassador to Germany

Ric Grenell has been confirmed by the Senate to be the USA ambassador to Germany.

Coming on the heels of Mike Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state, Grenell's confirmation fills a position that has been vacant since January 2017 when Trump dismissed the political ambassadors appointed under President Barack Obama.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's upcoming trip to Washington.

However, Senate Democrats stalled Grenell's confirmation earlier this week over concerns about his past comments about women.

According to news reports, President Trump considered Grenell for US ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but the post ultimately went to former Texas Sen. But Grenell's nomination was delayed for months as opposition Democrats criticized his conservative positions.

Pushing for Grenell's nomination were the Log Cabin Republicans, who organized a campaign to have their members call senators, particularly Democratic senators, asking them to stop blocking Grenell's nomination and confirm him.

The former United Nations spokesman has been strongly critical of the Iran nuclear deal, which Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have called on Trump not to abandon. Grenell has a reputation for launching sexist attacks through his Twitter account and disparaging women in media and politics. "I don't know. I hope not", Senator Robert Menendez, a top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech opposing Grenell.

When asked about such comments during his confirmation hearing, Grenell said he was trying to be amusing, not insulting, and would not have made such statements while serving as a US official.

Few leaders seem less personally in sync with Mr. Trump than Ms. Merkel. "Terrible. We'll stop that", Trump said during a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders summit, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, which cited sources at the alliance's meeting. There was widespread anger in Germany in 2013 when it was revealed the US National Security Agency tapped Merkel's phone.

Senior German officials said Thursday they are working on the assumption that the exception won't be extended.

The confirmation comes ahead of a visit to the White House by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to push Trump not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal nor hit Europe with new us tariffs.

Mr. Macron, she said, "has so far been the most adept in Europe at reacting to the Trump phenomenon".

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