Former Missouri Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was voted out in 2018, attempted to paint former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell as “unqualified” on Monday. But Grenell was quick to remind her that she actually voted in favor of his nomination to the Trump administration — and added a dig of his own.
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Referring to Grenell, McCaskill tweeted, “Of all the sycophants and unqualified folks surround [President Donald] Trump, why do I find this guy particularly repugnant? Because he was given real jobs and didn’t have a clue?”
Grenell replied, “Ummm, you voted for me. Or was that because had an upcoming election and wanted to hoodwink the people of Missouri into thinking you weren’t a partisan?”
McCaskill, who is now an analyst for MSNBC, voted in favor of Grenell becoming the U.S. ambassador to Germany before she lost her re-election bid to Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.). Grenell, in his tweet, included a roster showing the votes for his confirmation by the Senate, circling McCaskill’s “Yea” vote with a highlighter.
Grenell was promoted to acting DNI in February, outraging liberals who launched a campaign to paint him as unqualified for the position. He subsequently declassified the list of Obama officials who could have been involved in the unmasking of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn before John Ratcliffe took over as DNI in May following Senate confirmation.
The Twitter tiff between Grenell and McCaskill began after retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling criticized the Trump administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. would be pulling roughly 12,000 troops out of Germany.
Hertling said of the action, “While being aware of how many will stay & probably more aware than @RichardGrenell of the threat changes in Europe, this action is not part of a strategy or a threat assessment. And it damages both our national security and our alliances.”
Grenell replied, “It may not be your assessment but it was planned and will be implemented by the Pentagon. Times change.”
Grenell, who was the first openly gay person to serve in a U.S. president’s Cabinet, has been a thorn in the side of Democrats and the media and a staunch defender of President Trump.
He has been especially active in flagging “fake news” on Twitter, calling out CNN multiple times for false reporting and pushing back against fervent Trump critic Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for attempting to interfere with personnel changes made during Grenell’s tenure as acting DNI.