A Luncheon Conversation on U.S. Policy and Diplomacy in Europe with Ambassador Richard Grenell

On January 31st, the George & Barbara Bush Foundation partnered with The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston to host the United States Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, for a discussion focusing on U.S. policy and diplomacy in Europe at The Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Texas. F. Gregory Gause III, Professor and Head of the International Affairs Department of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, moderated the 50-minute conversation.

During his remarks, Ambassador Grenell touched on various topics including the political party divisions in Germany, their growing and ever-evolving economy and how they fit in with the rest of the European Union, as well as the United States’ commitment to the historic US-Germany bilateral relationship. Ambassador Grenell emphasized the importance of Germany and his close working relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Ambassador also discussed the stylistic difference between President Donald Trump and his predecessors. He shared his thoughts on President Trump’s approach to issues such as NATO spending and its effect with our Western allies. “We have to be able to have diplomats who are very blunt,” Amb. Grenell stated at one point.

Growth for American businesses and workers was another topic covered. Grenell explained one way to reach this goal is through trade deals and tariff negotiations. Referring to car companies such as BMW and Volkswagen, he said, “They have demonstrated that they think of themselves as a German and American company now.” The idea would be to raise tariffs on companies that have not yet demonstrated that same level of commitment to U.S. workers and taxpayers.

Ambassador Grenell concluded by answering several audience questions, such as how the refugee issue throughout Europe has affected Germany specifically – and how U.S. troops are utilized in the country. “We’re in Germany because we think it’s in our strategic interests,” he said in wrapping up his comments.