- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2018

Senate Republicans flipped the script on gay rights Thursday by confirming Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany after months of Democratic opposition and with virtually no support from liberal LGBT groups.

The Senate voted 56-42 to confirm President Trump’s nomination of Mr. Grenell, an openly gay conservative who headed the communications office for four ambassadors to the United Nations, including National Security Adviser John R. Bolton.

A handful of Democrats joined all Senate Republicans in voting to confirm Mr. Grenell, whose confirmation was described as a gay rights milestone.

“Ric Grenell’s confirmation is historic for two reasons: He has now officially become the highest ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration,” said Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo in a Thursday statement.

“Second: Despite the interminable delays of Democrats hell-bent on standing on the wrong side of history, today the United States Senate confirmed a gay nominee not ‘in spite of’ Republicans, or ‘with Republican support,’ but because of Republican support,” he said.

Democrats had held up the nomination for seven months over objections to Mr. Grenell’s now-deleted snarky tweets about the appearance of several prominent women, including Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Rachel Maddow and Calista Gingrich.

In 2011, for example, he tweeted that MSNBC’s Ms. Maddow “needs to take a breath and put on a necklace,” and that “Hillary is starting to look like Madeline Albright.”

“I cannot in good faith support a nominee who has a lengthy track record of tweets attacking both prominent Democratic and prominent Republican women,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, who blocked the confirmation vote last month.

Mr. Angelo wasn’t buying it, accusing Democrats of only supporting gay rights when it suits their political objectives and slamming the “roaring silence from LGBT advocacy organizations who did nothing to achieve this tremendous milestone in LGBT history.”

“Even if their motivations in that regard were sincere, it would mark a new low in political pettiness from Democrats who have now shown that their support of the LGBT community does not apply if you are a gay Republican in the good graces of President Trump,” said Mr. Angelo in a Thursday op-ed for Fox.

Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Mr. Grenell were Joe Donnelly of Indiana; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, according to the Washington Blade.

Mr. Angelo said the only liberal, gay rights supporter was Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation.

Mr. Grenell’s supporters on the right included talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, American Commitment President Phil Karpen, and Independent Women’s Voice CEO Heather Higgins.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, tweeted that the “extreme partisanship displayed toward Mr. Grenell, a highly qualified nominee from President Trump, will be remembered.”

Mr. Hewitt cheered Mr. Grenell for “hanging in there for a year” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “moving the new ambassador and throwing down on D obstructionism.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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