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Is Richard Grenell gay? Voters curious about former Trump DNI

Bruno Cooke February 3, 2021
is richard grenell gay
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Many are celebrating Pete Buttigieg’s approval as the first openly gay person to receive Senate confirmation to a US cabinet role. Meanwhile, others recall Richard Grenell, Donald Trump’s former DNI and are wondering, is Richard Grenell gay?

Is Richard Grenell gay?

Grenell tweeted his congratulations to Buttigieg yesterday, “on becoming the second openly gay member of a President’s Cabinet”. 

Richard Grenell served as the Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations for two years until January 2021. Previously, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany

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Around the time of Pride celebrations in July last year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published an interview with Richard Grenell.

Asked how it felt to become the first openly gay cabinet-level official, Grenell said he recognised that he “stand[s] on the shoulders of many people who struggled, failed, and made hard-fought achievements”.

Photo by Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Nevertheless, he said, “It is important to me that I not be defined by my sexual orientation”.

“I want to be defined by my experience and skills”, he continued. “It undercuts all that I want to do in my career when I’m narrowly defined as a gay ambassador.”

In August last year, Grenell described Donald Trump as the “most pro-gay President in American history”.

Buttigieg’s appointment as Transportation Secretary

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg made headline news yesterday when he won Senate approval of his nomination as Transport Secretary, making him the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a cabinet post.

Buttigieg immediately posted on Twitter that he was “honoured and humbled” by the vote and subsequent confirmation.

Last year, he ran as a candidate for president in the Democratic Party primaries.

Buttigieg, record setter

In the last two years, Pete Buttigieg has made history several times over.

For example, he was the first openly gay person to launch a major presidential campaign, the first to win a presidential primary or caucus, and is currently the youngest Cabinet secretary in the Biden administration.

He recently turned 39 years old and his birthday is 19 January.

Photo by Stefani Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images

While his confirmation is a cause for celebration for many LGBTQ+ activists, Grenell’s words may ring true for Buttigieg.

Regardless, his confirmation is an indicator of progress.

A New York Times piece from December 2020 recalls a confirmation vote that took place in the late 1990s. The majority leader at the time, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, reportedly called homosexuality a sin, and compared it to alcoholism.

On that occasion Republicans blocked President Bill Clinton’s choice for ambassador to Luxembourg from being able to assume the role because of his sexual orientation.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or