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Donald Trump’s Branch Rickey Moment

America needs a new ambassador to the United Nations – and President Trump could fill that opening with a nominee whose resume is unassailable and bulletproof – something bound to confound his political opponents on the left.

Richard Grenell – the current U.S. Ambassador to Germany – is reportedly on the short list of people under consideration to replace outgoing Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose resignation was accepted by the president earlier this month. It’s time to send Grenell to Turtle Bay as America’s point man, the same way Branch Rickey, the revolutionary General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers sent Jackie Robinson into the infield at Ebbets Field.

Grenell’s academic and experiential qualifications are extremely impressive.

For openers, he holds a masters’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and before assuming his post as ambassador to Germany earlier this year, he served as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Grenell held this post for an unprecedented seven years (2001-2008), longer than any prior spokesman – testimony to his ability to effectively communicate the American position on issues ranging from the War on Terror to rogue state nuclear programs.

He’s not only ready for the job – he knows the job.

He’s also written for numerous heavyweight publications, including The Wall Street Journal and CBS News, as well as liberal outlets such as The Huffington Post and CNN. Time magazine ranked his Twitter feed among the top ten in the country.

He also made history by working for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign as a national security spokesman . . . who just happened to be openly gay.

Republicans, of course, are supposed to be addled by homophobia. Filled with rancid, mindless “hate” toward people who are gay – just because they’re gay.

This, at any rate, is the party line of the uninformed left.

The truth is most Republicans – including the president, who was an extremely successful businessman before he became an extremely successful politician – are more hung up on qualifications.

Not unlike legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey – who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball back in 1946 by signing Jackie Robinson . . . who just happened to be black.

What mattered to Rickey was that Robinson could bat; his color was purely incidental. Branch didn’t obsess about Robinson’s race. Or any other player’s race. He didn’t care about race. He didn’t hire guys who couldn’t hit or field . . . because they happened to be white.

And he didn’t hire black ball players who couldn’t bat or field, either. He hired Jackie Robinson because the man was a great ball player – period.

If Trump hires Richard Grenell to be U.S.Ambassador to the United Nations, it will be for similar reasons. The president isn’t a bean counter. He is a talent scout. And Grenell’s as much of a heavy-hitter in his field as Robinson was in his.

The man’s private life is purely incidental, as far as the president is concerned.

And that’s what really separates the president from the bean-counting left – which is morbidly fixated on race (and sexual orientation) to the exclusion of talent. It is the left that’s practicing the very thing it claims to object to – treating people not on the basis of their merit and as individuals but as interchangeable color/gender/preference widgets, according to superficialities that have nothing to do with what they do.

When Republicans object to such talent-denying bean-counting, they are accused of “hate.” But what they actually hate is the left’s obsession with skin color and genitalia; its tiresome ad hominem attacks on a president whose “racism” (and other “isms”) exist only in their imagination and as cynical talking points that have become as predictable as Pravda during the Brezhnev years.

Grenell’s being incidentally gay may help immunize him – and the president – against the type of attempted character assassination that was recently deployed – unsuccessfully – to trip up the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The left – already severely “triggered” by statements made by Grenell that he “absolutely want(s) to empower other conservatives throughout Europe…” – will no doubt bring to bear the same scurrilous resources it tried to use to derail the Kavanaugh nomination.

But going after Grenell may prove even more hazardous for the left than going after Kavanaugh, which backfired spectacularly.

Grenell – although a dreaded Republican and even worse, an openly gay conservative – was among the signatories of an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court back in 2013 in support of same-sex marriage during deliberations in the Hollinsgworth vs. Perry case.

He’s also a cancer survivor – and in a committed relationship. And let me say personally as someone who has invited him on my radio shows dozens of times, his analysis is thoughtful, measured and timely.

Attacking him will be like attacking Jackie Robinson for being an “Uncle Tom” by agreeing to bat for the Dodgers.

Good luck with that.

A.J. Rice is the CEO of Publius PR. In his media career he has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Monica Crowley, Steve Hilton, Anthony Scaramucci, Doug Giles, George P. Bush, Andrew C. McCarthy, Coach Howard Schnellenberger, and many others. Find out more at

A.J. Rice

A.J. Rice is author of the book, "The Woking Dead: How Society’s Vogue Virus Destroys Our Culture". He serves as CEO of Publius PR, a premier communications firm in Washington D.C.