US President Donald Trump has formally designated Richard Grenell, the Ambassador to Germany, as acting director of national intelligence, according to a White House statement.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “(Grenell) is committed to a non-political, non-partisan approach as head of the Intelligence Community, on which our safety and security depend”.
“The President has every confidence that Ambassador Grenell will perform his new duties with distinction,” she added.
Grenell has served as US ambassador to Germany since April 2018. He will retain that role, given he is only leading the intelligence community on an acting basis.
Taking to Twitter, Grenell said on Thursday that he would not be the nominee for the full-time role and that Trump would announce the choice “sometime soon.” But the president has stocked his administration with acting officials, saying he prefers the flexibility of a temporary agency leader even amid concerns about government-wide instability.
I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him. I would like to thank Joe Maguire….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
Earlier on Wednesday, President Trump first announced on Twitter that he would give the intelligence job to Grenell, making him the first openly gay man to serve in the president’s Cabinet.
Grenell, a fierce loyalist of the president, has earned plaudits from some of Trump’s close allies who expressed confidence in his abilities and experience.
Grenell will take over an agency long distrusted by Trump.
The president has previously cast doubt on the determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election and has railed against the intelligence community after a whistleblower complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry last year.
(With inputs from agency)