Ric Grenell, the former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence under former President Trump’s administration, avoided a question Sunday on whether he intends to run for the governor of California if Democrat Gavin Newsom is recalled.
Grenell, speaking on “Sunday Morning Futures” a day after Trump was acquitted following his second impeachment trial, also questioned whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended intelligence briefings before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 or if she pushed that responsibility to her staff.
“Let’s get to the bottom of this. They’re blaming President Trump, but they were briefed or at least they were supposed to be briefed, or at least their staff was briefed,” Grenell told host Maria Bartiromo Sunday. “So, we really cannot understand who was briefed and what was briefed until the intelligence community leadership comes before the House or the Senate and opens up and tells us, what did you know and who did you tell and who didn’t react?”
Grenell said a “political show” is going on to continue to place blame on Trump for the insurrection, reacting also to an internal email obtained by Fox 5 DC suggesting that members of the National Guard might remain in Washington, D.C. until the fall of 2021. The National Security Council is asking the Department of Defense to engage Capitol police on planning for post-March 12 support, and there is a scheduled meeting for agencies to discuss the matter on Feb. 17.
Pivoting to California toward the end of the segment, Bartiromo directly asked, “Will you run for California governor should Gavin Newsom be recalled?”
Grenell had pushed back on Twitter to a report by Politico suggesting that he is interviewing campaign strategists and plans to announce his campaign once the recall effort qualifies for the ballot.
“Look, here’s my position: I just saw your interview with Ron DeSantis and I’m hoping that he can run for governor of Florida and governor of California,” Grenell responded. “I’m not sure that that we couldn’t have somebody going back and forth. Certainly would do a better job than Gavin Newsom. We have a disaster here in California. And I’m not trying to be cute about your question, but I think what we have to do is concentrate first on the signature that we’re gathering and the verified signatures.”
“The state of California is controlled by a whole bunch of Democrats. One-party rule, they are going to go through every single signature we have and throw out ones. The verification process is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Grenell said. “We still have a long way to go to gather signatures to put this on the ballot because they are going to play games. They already are. So I would just say we got to keep focused on getting rid of Gavin Newsom.
He continued, “I mean, we’ve got rich people in California getting the vaccine and elderly not getting the vaccine. It’s a disaster. Rick, do you want the job? Look, I’m not trying to be cute, Maria, I really just want to focus on long term solutions in California that’s going to take five, six years for somebody to really reform this place.”
Randy Economy, the senior adviser and official media spokesman for Recall Gavin 2020, told Fox News on Saturday that the campaign has received around 1,509,000 signatures — more than the required amount. Organizers said they expected to have 1.6 million signatures by Sunday. Organizers are aiming for 2 million signatures by mid-March due to the verification process and the campaign is seeking a comfortable margin. The group noted there was a 25% disqualification rate among signatures collected last time.
California recall initiatives are not uncommon – though they rarely make it onto the ballot.
However, people may be particularly displeased this year with Newsom, who has faced criticism over a number of recent events, including for violating his own strict coronavirus restrictions when he attended an indoor dinner party late last year. Attendees at the expensive restaurant gathering were seated closely and were not wearing masks.
The California governor eventually apologized for the incident, deeming it a “bad mistake.
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.