In an exclusive interview with Breitbart, the U.S. ambassador to Germany at his official residence in Berlin, Richard Grenell, iterated a need to "empower" the European far-right, igniting a firestorm of reactions from officials and political experts in the U.S. and Europe.
"I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders," Grenell told Breitbart’s Chris Tomlinson. "I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left."
"There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on."
Before being appointed as Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Grenell, a Republican operative has a history of making "undiplomatic" statements.
"There's no question about that and it’s an exciting time for me. I look across the landscape and we’ve got a lot of work to do but I think the election of Donald Trump has empowered individuals..."
On Thursday, the German government demanded that Grenell clarify his comments.
"In the past, Germany was fortunate to have had great US ambassadors who built bridges and did not do party politics," said Metin Hakverdi, a Social Democrat delegate and member of the German-U.S. parliamentary friendship group, the Guardian reported. "As a member of the SPD, a left party with a long proud legacy of fighting, together with the United States, both Nazis and communists, I am irritated to hear from ambassador Grenell about our allegedly failed policies."
Following the interview, many scholars also called out the U.S. diplomat over his comments on social media. "He says he will personally intervene in internal politics of Europe to empower anti-establishment conservatives," tweeted Tom Wright, the director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe.
"The American ambassador in Germany has just implied that he would like to unseat the current German government," wrote Anne Applebaum, a professor at the London School of Economics and Washington Post columnist.
The comments also come at a time when Europe is seeing a resurgence of the far-right movement by boosting anti-immigrant, racist agendas.
Few days earlier one of the leaders from Germany's far-right nationalist party, Alternative for Germany, Alexander Gauland, undermining Hitler's role, dismissed the Nazi era as a "speck of bird poop" in German history.
In Italy, the newly appointed interior minister, Matteo Salvini, as part of the country's new government, said Monday the country will no longer be "Europe's refugee camp," as he vowed tough action to reduce migrant and refugee arrivals and deport a large number of people.
Omid Nouripour, a Green MP and deputy chair of the German-U.S. parliamentary friendship group, said: "The comments made by Richard Grenell give the impression that the new US ambassador still hasn’t adjusted to his new role. At least the Russians make an effort not to be seen to be meddling in other countries’ affairs."
He added: "The US ambassador represents the American people, not just the readership of Breitbart. That’s why it is important that he conducts himself as neutrally as possible," according to the Guardian.