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Outspoken US Ambassador begins mission in Berlin

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Outspoken US Ambassador begins mission in Berlin

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Richard Grenell, the United States's outspoken new ambassador in Berlin, has paid his first formal visit to the German Foreign Ministry since his appointment.

A staunch supporter of Donald Trump, Grenell broke with diplomatic protocol in a newspaper interview over the weekend, saying "I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe."

Ambassadors don't normally intervene in the internal politics of host nations, and his comments have angered some German politicians.

"It’s very difficult and very dangerous because he could become a kind of advocate for right wing and left wing populist politicians who would like to destroy our free society," says Roderich Kiesewetter, Foreign Policy Representative for the CDU-CSU.

"You sort of have the feeling a new colonial master has arrived in the office," says Die Linke MP Sarah Wagenknecht. "I don't think any government can put up with that."

Grenell's also raised hackles by tweeting to tell German companies they should start moving out of Iran. And in another breach of protocol he's invited Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to an embassy lunch. Kurz is a critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policies.