BERLIN — The German government is seeking clarification of a report in which the new U.S. ambassador was quoted as saying that he wants to "empower" conservative leaders throughout Europe.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry told reporters Monday that the U.S. has been asked for "clarification on whether the statements were actually made in the form they were given." Spokesman Christofer Burger said Ambassador Richard Grenell's inaugural visit to the ministry on Wednesday will provide an opportunity to "explain how he wants his statements to be understood."

The website quoted Grenell Sunday as saying: "I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders."

Grenell drew criticism last month for tweeting that German companies should stop doing business with Iran after President Donald Trump quit the nuclear deal.