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President Trump made history this week after appointing Richard Grenell to serve as acting Director of National Intelligence. The new job, a cabinet-level position, makes Grenell the highest serving openly gay man to hold federal office in United States history.

“He is a faithful patriot and an extraordinary student of our national security apparatus and foreign policy. He has led at the UN, the foreign service and for several presidential campaigns. He is unabashed and completely qualified for the DNI. Acting or nominated,” Billy White, a former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan who has known Grenell for three decades, told The Post.

“I know I speak for so many in the LGBT community who love and support this courageous appointment by President Trump,” added White, who is gay.

President Obama never appointed an openly gay cabinet member, a source of bitterness for LGBT activists at the time.

“There’s a tremendous sense of disappointment,” Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign told The Washington Post in 2013, speaking of LGBT representation in the Obama White House.

Grenell is taking the job in an acting capacity from outgoing DNI Joseph Maguire, so he will not require what would no doubt be a bruising Senate confirmation. President Trump has said he will nominate a “terrific” full time candidate for the job “very soon.”

The DNI, a title created after 9/11, oversees all the intelligence agencies.

In his current role as America’s top envoy to Germany, Grenell, 53, has been called America’s “Trumpiest ambassador.” The Republican operative-turned-diplomat has long been a lightning rod — frequently using his ferocious Twitter account to savage critics and the media.

Once an advisor to then-Gov. George Pataki, Grenell has in the past been blocked on Twitter by at least four New York Times reporters, including their former Frankfurt Bureau chief Mark Landler.

His most eyebrow-raising tweets — including comments about the physical appearance of various women — almost derailed his Senate confirmation. “Rachel Maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace,” he wrote in one 2011 post.

In addition to his European responsibilities, Grenell has been a longtime advocate of the cause of global LGBT rights and has pushed the Trump administration to tackle the issue publicly.

Last December — just hours before his boss was impeached by the House of Representatives — Grenell led the United Nations in condemning 69 countries which still outlaw homosexuality.

“I want them to understand that you cannot put someone in jail or kill someone simply for being gay,” Grenell told the assembled representatives, some from nations where LGBTQ people are targeted. “What we are trying to do is unite around something that is absolutely a uniting issue.”

The standalone meeting at the UN was the first time the United States had ever sponsored such an event, Grenell said. The ceremony also drew U.S. United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft.

Grenell insists Donald Trump is a good friend to the LGBTQ community.

“After 30 years in American politics, it has been by far the most welcoming administration in my lifetime,” he told The Post. “President Trump is a strong supporter of equality for LGBT people. I know this personally.

“There are plenty of supportive things the President has said to me and others, but as any LGBT person will tell you, real support does not come from constant virtue-signaling, but in always being treated equally. And that’s been my experience,” he added.



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