Trump's US ambassador to Germany suggests he will intervene in European politics to 'empower conservatives'
Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany has suggested he will intervene in European politics to "empower conservatives", in comments that have been criticised as going far beyond the traditional remit of a diplomat.
“There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on”, ambassador Richard Grenell told the far-right publication Breitbart.
As Slovenia became the latest European democracy to elevate a politician espousing a populist form of conservatism, Mr Grenell said he wanted to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe”.
“I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left,” Mr Grenell said.
Chris Murphy, a Connecticut senator who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted that he found Mr Grenell's Breitbart interview "awful" to read.
"When I raised concerns to Grenell about politicizing this post, he personally assured me that once he became Ambassador he would stay out of politics," he said.
"Ambassadors aren't supposed to 'empower' any political party overseas."
An anti-establishment message intertwined with hostility to immigration helped propel Mr Trump to victory - themes that have reverberated through a string of European elections. Mr Grenell cited that precedent as helping to inform his mandate.
The news organisation that ran the exclusive interview with Mr Grenell has itself helped to nourish the same political forces the ambassador said he would cultivate.
Breitbart became a force in American politics through its rejection of mainstream Republicans and its focus on illegal immigration. Its former chairman Steve Bannon helped instil those themes in the Trump presidential campaign, for which he was key strategic architect, and then in the White House.