From the perspective of the Peter Principle concept in management studies, Ric Grenell rose to his level of incompetence when he served for three months earlier this year as acting director of National Intelligence (DNI).
If there was any doubt that Grenell was poorly equipped for the field of Intelligence — or intelligence — it came on Veteran’s Day, November 11, when the Vichy gay probably best known for his vicious internet trolling over the past decade offered a Twitter salute to Lieutenant William Calley, Jr., who was court-martialed in 1971 for the premeditated murder of 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians during the infamous 1968 My Lai massacre.
Trump’s former intelligence chief, ambassador to Germany punked into giving shout out to William Calley of My Lai infamy
Grenell was duped by Ken Klippenstein, a reporter at The Nation, who direct-messaged Grenell with a picture of Calley at the time of his court-martial and wrote, “Sir, my grandpa is a huge fan of yours, here he is as a young lieutenant. If you could shout him out it’d make his day!”
Grenell quickly responded, asking, “What’s his name?,” to which Klippenstein responded, “Bill Calley.”
The former head of our nation’s intelligence services promptly tweeted, “Thank you for your service, Bill Calley!”
Happy Veterans Day! pic.twitter.com/cotDkDUGs6
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) November 11, 2020
Later, when Grenell realized he’d been punked, he tweeted, “Duped. Trying to be helpful to people who reach out on Veteran’s Day. It’s a shame people would do this on a day like today. DC is a sick city.”
Klippenstein shot back, “I’m actually a Wisconsin resident how dare you disrespect a swing state voter.”
In fact, less than a week before Grenell had been in Nevada, disrespecting swing state voters there with wild accusations of ballot irregularities in a state that President-Elect Joe Biden won by nearly 37,000 votes. After a press conference where he and other Always-Trumpers declined to offer any evidence for their disruptive, democracy-undermining charges, Grenell petulantly refused to answer reporters’ questions.
During the election campaign, Grenell worked on outreach efforts to LGBTQ voters on behalf of the Republican National Committee while simultaneously serving as special presidential envoy for the Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations. His brief stint as DNI followed a fiery two-year tenure as US ambassador to Germany, where he immediately got off on the wrong foot by telling Breitbart News, “I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders” — an embarrassing breach of diplomatic protocol He was also a frequent guest on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, a platform he used to launch broadsides against the immigration policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had become the de facto leader of the Free World in the face of Trump’s abdication of that role.
Prior to his immersion in the MAGA world, Grenell very briefly served as foreign policy spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, until criticism from social conservatives about a gay man holding that post forced his withdrawal after only 12 days. Predictably, his allies in the Log Cabin Republicans blamed both the “far left” as well as the “far right” — not so fine people on both sides, presumably.
Unlike Romney, Trump saw the usefulness of having a gay in his ranks — apparently having schooled himself in Grenell’s colorful Twitter feed. In the years leading up to 2012, Grenell had shown himself consistently willing to take on progressives, including those in the LGBTQ world — often in scathing and misogynist words. In January of that year he tweeted, “Rachel Maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace.”
As he rose in prominence within the right wing orbit, Grenell scrubbed some of the more provocative tweets from his page. He is probably irate that he can’t scrub Klippenstein’s, as well.