Richard Grenell Tweets Congrats to Buttigieg after Cabinet Confirmation; Twitter Polarizes

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday February 3, 2021

Out former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell tweeted his congratulations to Pete Buttigieg after Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate as President Biden's transportation secretary, making Buttigieg the second openly gay man to become a Cabinet member, political news outlet The Hill reported.

"Congratulations to @PeteButtigieg on becoming the second openly gay member of a President's Cabinet," Grenell sent in a Feb. 2 tweet. "Welcome to the club!"

Donald Trump appointed Grenell to the post of Acting DNI - a Cabinet-level position - in February of 2020, The Hill recalled. Grenell held that position until May 2020, when John Ratcliffe took the position on a permanent basis.

Twitter users promptly split into camps after Grenell's tweet, with some decrying media acknowledgement of Buttigieg being an openly gay man and questioning Buttigieg's qualifications, while others condemned the media for reporting - accurately - that Grenell had not been confirmed by the Senate for a Cabinet position as Buttigieg had.

The distinction of Buttigieg being the first openly gay nominee to be confirmed to a Cabinet position by the Senate, as opposed to Grenell being the first out gay men to serve in a president's Cabinet after having been appointed, was emphasized by still others.

Grenell himself slammed ABC's report on Buttigieg's confirmation as "fake news" in a followup tweet.

Grenell was, however, confirmed by the Senate for his post as Ambassador to Germany, a post he retained during his tenure as Acting DNI, but which he relinquished soon after his time as Acting DNI came to an end.

The Senate confirmed Grenell's ambassadorial nomination in April 2018, The Hill recalled, noting that his appointment "prompted concerns among Democrats and career officials who expressed doubts about his qualifications for the position and pointed to past comments he made about wanting to 'empower' conservative leaders 'throughout Europe.' "

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.