Richard Grenell unloaded on reporters for failing to get to the bottom of a US-brokered Serbia-Kosovo deal, but his own description of it seemed spectacularly unspecific. The Internet couldn’t let him get away with that.
The acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) tried to underscore the importance of the deal, expanding on the effort Trump had made to bring Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to the table.
Reporters, however, soon switched to other topics, with the New York Post’s Steven Nelson asking him about decriminalizing homosexuality.
“Let me just talk about Kosovo and Serbia. I don’t know if you can find it on a map. But this is atrocious,” interrupted Grenell, who was markedly upset. “You might be too young to understand what this issue is about. Maybe the older journalists should step up and say, ‘This is a big deal. This is a big issue,” he pushed on.
Jeff Mason, a Reuters White House correspondent, countered by saying none of his colleagues “came here for a lecture about our questioning.” Returning fire, Grenell suggested the Balkans may be “too complicated of an issue for you all,” offering to take “a little time and talk about this 21-year issue.”
Richard Grenell: “I’m just going to talk about Kosovo-Serbia. I don’t know if you can find it on a map…you might be too young…maybe it’s too complicated an issue for you all.”@jeffmason1: “I don’t think any of us came here for a lecture about our questioning.” pic.twitter.com/8nXKyCNv3J
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 4, 2020
His own lecture about the substance of the deal was far from cogent, however. “I think it’s incredible economic normalization: air, rail, motor, opening borders, a whole bunch of industries. So, again, I don’t know what’s missing,” Grenell informed the group.
Asked about details, he said the deal was about “for whatever the two parties could bring together – a whole bunch on rail, a whole bunch on water, a whole bunch on different industries.”
Those observing online were prompt to contrast Grenell’s accusations that the reporters were ignorant about the Serbia-Kosovo reconciliation with his own knowledge of it. The “bunch” part merited special attention.
It sounds like he went to Trump University. I’m surprised he didn’t say, “tremendous things.”
— HawaiiLover1967 (@HawaiiLover1967) September 5, 2020
Some observers spewed vitriol at Grenell’s persona, likening Friday’s display to a “sitcom.” “I hate when a series introduces a character right before the finale. Idk who this is, but he’s obnoxious,” a response reads.
Others suggested the official’s language could be useful in real life.
In my next job interview I’m going to start by insulting the interviewers and then respond to questions about my previous experience with “I’ve done a whole bunch of stuff.” Seems like a good approach.
— Josh (@joshsladden) September 4, 2020
Grenell himself is no stranger to scandal and blunder. While serving as US Ambassador to Berlin, he earned a reputation of behaving like “an occupation commissioner,” mostly due to his diatribes against the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The retired diplomat spoke to the media shortly after the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo agreed on normalizing economic ties, during a series of talks arranged by Washington. The move, which President Donald Trump labeled as “historic,” comes two decades after intense hostilities between them ended with NATO bombardment of Serbia.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!