Speaker of US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has censured President Donald Trump’s decision this week to tap Richard Grenell as the acting director of national intelligence, comparing his inexperience to her being asked to perform brain surgery.
"It would be like sending me in for brain surgery, to do brain surgery on somebody. What?! Just doesn’t know the territory. And it’s very important territory. So what the president did is dangerous," Pelosi said during a Saturday press conference in Houston.
She joined other Democratic lawmakers in questioning Grenell's qualifications for the key intelligence role, considering that he has never served in a US spy agency.
Trump picked Grenell, a fervent defender of the US president who has served as American ambassador to Germany since 2018, for the role after the resignation of former acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire last week.
Maguire's departure came after Trump was reportedly angered by legislators in both parties receiving a classified briefing last week about election security, including on the intelligence community's belief that Russia is already taking steps to again interfere in US elections and to help him win.
Pelosi further defended the need for members of Congress to receive regular intelligence briefings from the administration.
"The administration are the custodians of the intelligence, but the intelligence belongs to the Congress of the United States as well. And we need to know what they know so that we can make our decisions," she added.
"So for the president to object to Congress getting that information — it's frankly not unusual, but that it is public is unusual, A, and B, for him therefore to oust the director of national intelligence and put somebody in with absolutely no credentials whatsoever for the job, for something that is very much a part of our national security, this is dangerous. This is dangerous to our country," Pelosi underlined.
This is while Grenell also emphasized that he is only serving in the role on a temporary basis as Trump tweeted on Friday that four candidates are under consideration for a permanent DNI replacement, and that he would make a decision within the "next few weeks."
The White House, meanwhile, cited Grenell's previous positions as special envoy for Serbia-Kosovo negotiations and a US spokesman to the United Nations as evidence of "years of experience working with our intelligence community."
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