President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, may face a longer road to confirmation as a result of his past remarks about female politicians and media personalities.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) has considered slowing down the final portion of the appointment process, telling the Daily Beast on Thursday he would not give his consent to waive debate over Grenell’s nomination.
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The senator’s office revised its position on Friday, saying no final decision has been made over whether he is going to force 30 additional hours of debate over the nomination, the Daily Beast reported. However, Murphy’s spokesman said he is considering doing so because he "cannot support [Grenell’s] nomination because his history of his insulting and derogatory remarks about women."
The comments Murphy has concerns with are past tweets the nominee sent while in his prior role as a Fox News commentator. In the tweets, Grenell made comments about the appearance of some women, including MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s wife Callista Gingrich, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
One tweet said the lesbian TV host Maddow "needs to take a breath and put on a necklace," and he compared her look to that of male pop singer Justin Bieber circa 2011. In another tweet directed to Gingrich, Grenell questioned if she "snaps on" her hair. In a last tweet, the now-nominee said Clinton was starting to look like Albright.
Grenell defended his comments, saying they were intended to be sent in jest, but he realizes that sometimes what he intends to be funny, isn’t always funny.
"Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very caring person and very sensitive– and I also appreciate good humor," Grenell said. "Unfortunately, there are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous, and, again, that was never my intention and I regret that."
Upon confirmation, the Republican strategist would become the first openly gay appointee in the Trump administration.
Murphy and his Democratic collegues can slow down, but not stop, the final portion of the appointment process, unless some Republicans join their opposition.
Grenell's confirmation vote has not yet been added to the Senate calendar. As many important diplomatic posts remain unseated, the Trump administration has frequently criticized Democrats for slowing down the confirmation process.