Former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell ripped into journalists on Friday during a briefing on an economic deal between Kosovo and Serbia when reporters asked instead about other topics — suggesting the topic was “too complicated” for them.
"I don't know if you can find it on a map, but this is atrocious. I have to tell you guys,” Grenell said at a White House briefing.
Grenell, who served as special envoy for the talks, was speaking to journalists about the deal to normalize economic relations between the two former adversaries.
The Belgrade-Pristina deal was signed by their two leaders – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti – in front of Trump in the Oval Office, with Trump describing it as a "major breakthrough."
The deal normalizes relations between the two on everything from air, rail to opening of borders, officials said. It also includes Serbia moving its embassy in Israel to Jersualem and Kosovo recognizing Israel.
Kosovo had declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted an airstrike campaign against Serbia in a bid to end the persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. But Serbia and its allies have not recognized that independence, keeping tensions high.
Grenell shot back when a journalist asked him about a different topic instead.
“You might be too young to understand what this issue is about, maybe the older journalists should step up and say ‘this is a big deal, this is a big issue,’” he said. “I'm astounded at what happens in Washington, D.C., and especially in this room. It’s substantive, maybe it’s too complicated of an issue for you all."
He went on to urge reporters to “take a little time” and talk more about the issue that had been brewing for 21 years, saying that they were asking “the same questions that are all politics.
“You guys don’t understand what’s happening outside of Washington, D.C., people aren’t listening to you anymore,” he said. “It's really a crisis in journalism and I think it’s because people are too young to understand issues like Kosovo and Serbia.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.