While no reason was given for Grenell’s resignation, it has been widely speculated that he may join U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Trump named Grenell ambassador to Germany in April 2018. He quickly drew the ire of many in Germany with his outspoken views — often expressed via social media — though German officials largely held back criticism of their close ally's envoy.
A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin said that in keeping with normal practice, Deputy Chief of Mission Robin Quinville would become the charge d’affaires until a new ambassador is confirmed. Quinville joined the U.S. diplomatic service in 1988, with stations including Vienna, Brussels, Cyprus, London and Baghdad.
“The U.S. Mission in Germany continues to work on the administration’s foreign policy priorities,” said embassy spokesman Joseph Giordono-Scholz. Among Grenell's top priorities was trying to get Germany to spend more on defense, in line with its NATO pledges, cracking down on Hezbollah's activity in Germany and opposing the construction of a pipeline bringing Russian natural gas to Germany.
Successive U.S. administrations have objected to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying it risks making Europe more dependent on Russian gas supplies and thereby poses a security threat. Trump signed a Senate bill last year allowing for sanctions against individuals and companies involved with the vessels laying the pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
Grenell was tapped in February to become the acting director of national intelligence. The decision was criticized by Democrats who said he lacked necessary experience. Last month, the Senate confirmed John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence, succeeding Grenell, who remains Trump's envoy to Kosovo and Serbia.
Grenell said Trump presented him with a leaving gift Monday — the Cabinet chair he used while briefly serving as acting national intelligence director. “'Acting' Cabinet Secretaries do not get chairs but President Trump wanted me to have mine because, as he said, ‘You are the First Openly Gay Cabinet Secretary and it’s a big deal,’” Grenell wrote.