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Tue Jun 27, 2023, 01:58 PM Jun 2023

Democrats walk off California Senate floor after Republicans honor Richard Grenell for Pride Month [View all]

SACRAMENTO — Richard Grenell, a Republican advisor to former President Trump who has criticized the Equality Act and railed against transgender youth rights, was honored on the California Senate floor on Monday in the name of Pride Month.

The recognition of Grenell, who is gay, by California Republicans was protested by members of the state’s Democratic legislative majority, with several lawmakers quietly walking off the floor during the short ceremony honoring him as “the first openly gay presidential Cabinet member.”

Grenell is a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and was welcomed by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee) and Republican Assemblymembers Bill Essayli of Corona, Tom Lackey of Palmdale and Greg Wallis of Bermuda Dunes.

“During Pride Month, we are proud to recognize Ambassador Grenell for his incredible contributions to the state and nation through his extensive public service career,” Essayli said. “Here in the Republican party, we celebrate individual achievements over identity politics.”

Grenell briefly served as the acting Director of National Intelligence for the Trump administration in 2020. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat, also claims the title of being the first openly gay presidential Cabinet member, and, unlike Grenell, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.


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