The Atlantic

The Gay, Conservative Christian Who Might Be Trump's NATO Ambassador

Richard Grenell’s struggles with his faith and identity inform his public work.
Source: Matt Rourke / AP

“I am writing to tell you that I am gay and I am a Christian.”

That was the opening line of the letter Richard Grenell, a former United Nations official, sent his evangelical parents when he decided to come out in 1999. He had kept his sexual orientation a secret from them for years, but after he fell in love with his now-longtime partner, he knew it was time to get his personal life in order.

President Trump reportedly plans to nominate Grenell to be his ambassador to NATO, a position that would make Grenell the highest-ranking gay man in the new administration, and arguably the most visible gay Christian in America. Yet his appointment could potentially influence more than the country’s ties to the military alliance—by pushing conservative Christians to reconsider their approach to LGBT rights and equality.

Grenell, a conservative and a Harvard graduate, boasts an extensive political resume that’s punctuated by his role as the longest serving U.S. spokesman at the United Nations. Four years after

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