‘Die Linke’ demands Berlin expel outspoken U.S. ambassador

Germany's far-left Die Linke party demanded Friday that parliament vote to expel the controversial US ambassador Richard Grenell, a close confidant of President Donald Trump.

'Die Linke' demands Berlin expel outspoken U.S. ambassador
Richard Grenell speaking in Kiel in October 2018. Photo: DPA

The small opposition party wants Grenell, 52, to be declared persona non grata for having “actively interfered” in German politics on issues from Iran to defence spending and telecom equipment.

Although the motion, a copy of which was seen by AFP, has little chance of  succeeding, the fact it has been made at all is a sign of the badly strained transatlantic relations in the Trump era.

The US president has harshly criticised NATO ally Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues ranging from immigration policy to defence spending and car exports.

SEE ALSO: 'Top diplomatic failure': U.S. Ambassador sparks anger in Germany 

Last week Wolfgang Kubicki of the opposition liberal Free Democrats also demanded that Grenell be sent home for “behaving like the high commissioner of an occupying power”.

For almost a year, Grenell, a hawkish supporter of Trump's “America First” stance, has weighed in on German politics with tweets, regularly angering his host country.

Grenell made a splash on day one in his diplomatic post by tweeting that German companies should get out of Iran after Trump ripped up the nuclear deal with Tehran.

He soon followed up with reported comments to right-wing news website Breitbart of his ambition to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.”

At the time, Social Democratic lawmaker Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel tweeted that “European citizens don't need a Trump vassal to tell them who to vote for”.

Grenell has also criticised Germany for spending too little on defence, attacked plans for a new gas pipeline from Russia and warned Berlin not to use telecom equipment made by China's Huawei.

SEE ALSO: What you should know about Trump's new ambassador to Germany

Member comments

  1. And what really pisses off Germany is that Grinnell has been right about everything he’s criticized Germany for.

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Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends

After three years as United States Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands has stepped down from the post and left Copenhagen.

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends
Outgoing United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The now-former ambassador confirmed she had taken leave of the Danish capital via Twitter.

US president Donald Trump’s term ends on Wednesday, with President-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated at 6pm Danish time.

“It's been a privilege serving the Trump Administration for over 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. I’ve enjoyed promoting USA-Denmark-Faroe Islands-Greenland relations,” Sands tweeted.

“I have departed Copenhagen,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

In a video included in the tweets, Sands mentions her highlights of her time as ambassador. These include the re-opening of the US consulate in Greenland capital Nuuk alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sands, who took over as ambassador in 2017 after being appointed by Trump, is likely to be remembered as the incumbent at the time of Trump’s overtures towards purchasing Greenland, an autonomous territory within the Danish kingdom.

After Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the United States could buy the Arctic territory from Denmark, the US president promptly cancelled an official visit to Denmark scheduled for September 2019.

Sands met with the Danish government on several occasions in an attempt to take the heat out of a potential diplomatic dispute.

READ ALSO: Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement

More recently, Sands was criticised for tweeting an incorrect claim that her own vote had not been counted in the country's general election.

The ambassador posted on her personal Twitter account a screenshot which she claimed showed her absentee ballot in the state of Pennsylvania had not been registered. She also made several other posts on the site following the US election in support of Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

Several other Twitter users – as well as the New York Times – looked up Sands' vote on the Pennsylvania state government website and found it was in fact registered.

READ ALSO: US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote

After a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6th, Sands was officially contacted by foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. The minister called for Trump to concede defeat in the election and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Newspaper Berlingske reported that this was the first time in history that a Danish foreign minister had officially protested over internal affairs in the United States.