'Berlin seems to be losing patience with the US ambassador who didn’t mince his words over German defense spending. A high-ranking MP demanded that the envoy be sent home because he acts “like an occupation commissioner.”
Wolfgang Kubicki, vice speaker of the German parliament, called for Richard Grenell to be declared persona non grata immediately, local media reported. The emotive remark wasn’t limited to what Berlin should do in relation to the American ambassador.
“If a US diplomat acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power, he will have to learn that our tolerance has its limits,” Kubicki said angrily. Grenell had crossed the line again and interfered “in political affairs of the sovereign Federal Republic,” the senior MP argued.
Earlier, the official Twitter account of the US embassy in Berlin quoted Grenell as saying: “Reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO allies.”
Ambassador Grenell in @AP on #Germany’s defense #budget plans: “reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 #NATO allies.” https://t.co/MzLpaI6Bme
— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) March 18, 2019
Grenell was sworn in as US ambassador to Germany back in May 2018, after being considered for the posts of the ambassador to NATO and the UN. He ignited a scandal within hours of taking office in Berlin when he demanded that German companies doing business in Iran should “wind down operations immediately.”
Throughout 2018, Grenell hit a nerve with German politicians on numerous occasions, including his threat to sanction local firms taking part in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, a demand to break trade ties with Iran, and an appeal to help Washington put pressure on Moscow.
In May of the same year, he got some telling advice from Wolfgang Ischinger, a retired German envoy to the US. “My advice, after a long ambassadorial career: explain your own country’s policies, and lobby the host country,” the diplomat tweeted, adding: “But never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble.”'
Read more: ‘Our tolerance has limits!’ Expel US envoy for acting like ‘occupation commissioner’, says German MP