Richard Grenell defends ‘America First’ and Trump’s so-called ‘nationalism’

Richard Grenell, President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, gave an all-in defense to the president’s ‘America first’ policies and said ‘nationalist’ name-calling from political rivals shouldn’t be considered an insult. 

Grenell, who also briefly served as the acting Director of National Intelligence earlier this year, also backed up Trump’s claims that members of President Barack Obama’s administration spied on his campaign. 

‘America First does not advance the interests of one group of Americans at the expense of any other. It has no bias about red or blue, educated or not educated, urban or rural,’ Grenell argued during his Republican National Convention speech. ‘America First is simply the belief that politicians should focus on the equality and dignity of every American.’ 

Richard Grenell, who served as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany and later the acting Director of National Intelligence, defended the president’s ‘America First’ policies and pushed back on criticism that Trump was a ‘nationalist’ 

Richard Grenell spoke Wednesday night as part of the Republican National Convention on behalf of President Donald Trump, who made an appearance at Fort McHenry in Baltimore at the end of Vice President Mike Pence's speech

Richard Grenell spoke Wednesday night as part of the Republican National Convention on behalf of President Donald Trump, who made an appearance at Fort McHenry in Baltimore at the end of Vice President Mike Pence’s speech 

Grenell began his address, delivered at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium, by recalling how Trump, during the 2016 Republican primary, blasted former Republicans for their foreign policy. 

‘He called America’s endless wars what they were: A disaster,’ Grenell said. ‘The media was shocked, because Donald Trump was running as a Republican. And yet he said out loud what we all knew. That American foreign policy was failing to make Americans safer.’  

Grenell, echoing Trump, argued that both Republican and Democratic administrations had let the American people down. 

‘They welcomed China into the World Trade Organization. They engaged in “nation-building” in Afghanistan, and tried to export democracy to Iraq. They signed a nuclear deal with Iran, and a global climate agreement in Paris,’ he said. 

He argued, especially with jobs being exported overseas, that foreign policy did nothing to help the ‘average American.’    

‘That’s what happened when Washington stopped being the capital of the United States, and started being the capital of the world,’ he said. 

Trump’s leadership was different, he said.  

‘I’ve watched President Trump charm the Chancellor of Germany, while insisting that Germany pay its NATO obligations,’ Grenell recalled. 

He also pushed back on criticism that Trump’s foreign policy has hurt relationships with allies and is too nationalistic.    

‘That tells you all you need to know. The D.C. crowd thinks when they call Donald Trump a nationalist, they’re insulting him,’ Grenell said. ‘As if the American president isn’t supposed to base foreign policy on America’s national interests.’   

Grenell characterized Trump’s rival in the presidential race, Joe Biden, as the ultimate Washington insider.    

‘Joe Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972. Forty-eight years ago,’ he said, stretching the numbers with deliberation.  

He also remarked that it was the ‘typical Washington story’ that while 22 Democrats ran for party’s nomination, Democratic voters picked ‘someone they had to pull out of retirement.’   

Grenell concluded by accusing the Obama-Biden administration of misdeeds in the handling of the FBI investigation that centered around the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in 2016.  

‘As Acting Director of National Intelligence, I saw the Democrats’ entire case for Russian collusion. And what I saw made me sick to my stomach,’ he said.

‘The Obama-Biden Administration secretly launched a surveillance operation on the Trump campaign, and silenced the many brave intelligence officials who spoke up against it. They presented bogus information as facts. They lied to judges. Then they classified anything that undermined their case,’ Grenell claimed. 

He said of Biden, that the former vice president specifically asked intelligence officials to ‘uncover the hidden information’ about Trump’s original pick for national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

Biden had requested to know which incoming Trump official had conversations with the Russian ambassador, a process referred to as ‘un-masking.’ 

When Grenell, as acting DNI, released documents that named Biden as one of the Obama administration officials who had requested the information, proper procedures had been followed. It’s not illegal for high-ranking government officials to request the identities of individuals named in intelligence documents. 

Still, Grenell – like Trump – made it an RNC talking point. 

‘That’s the Democrats,’ he said. ‘Between surveillance, classifications, leaks, and puppet candidates, they never want the American people to know who’s actually calling the shots.’ 

He said that wasn’t the case with current occupant of the Oval Office.   

‘With Donald Trump, you always know exactly who is in charge,’ Grenell said. ‘Because the answer – is you.’