The 54-year-old Grenell, a Palm Springs, Calif., resident, is close to the former president and is frequently in touch with him. In addition to spending several months as Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, Grenell was also ambassador to Germany in the Trump administration. Grenell campaigned aggressively for Trump’s reelection in 2020 and pushed Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud after the vote.
Should he run, Grenell would likely be supported by a substantial fundraising operation. He was a major draw at Trump fundraisers during the 2020 campaign, and many of the former president’s biggest contributors have called on him to enter the contest. But while Grenell’s relationship with Trump is likely to help him with Republican voters, it could be a complicating factor. The former president got just 34 percent of the vote in California in 2020, and Democrats have signaled they’re eager focus a recall campaign on Trump instead of questions about how Newsom has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
Grenell is expected to meet Southern California-based high-dollar donors next week, and he has begun to assemble what one person close to him described as an experienced fundraising team.