Richard Grenell, Mitt’s Romney’s recently-named gay foreign policy spokesman, was forced out of the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential campaign after pressure from anti-gay Republicans, a conservative columnist at the Washington Post first reported on May 1.
Jennifer Rubin, the Right Turn blogger at washingtonpost.com, wrote, “Grenell decided to resign after being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the president’s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign.”
Grenell, who served President George W. Bush as communications director for the US representative at the United Nations, was appointed to his campaign post on April 19.
“I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman,” Grenell said in a written statement. “While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.”
Rubin, however, pointed to articles in two prominent conservative publications –– the National Review and DailyCaller.com –– that raised questions about the fitness of an openly gay adviser to serve the Romney campaign.
She quoted Matthew J. Franck writing in the National Review, “Suppose Barack Obama comes out — as Grenell wishes he would — in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?”
DailyCaller.com, meanwhile, challenged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s suitability as Romney’s running mate, citing his appointment of Bruce Harris, an openly gay Republican, to the State Supreme Court. Matt K. Lewis, writing on the conservative website, faulted Harris, who is African-American, for “comparing opposition to gay marriage with segregation” in a letter to legislators.
Rubin wrote that Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades responded to Grenell’s departure by saying, “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”
Conservatives’ mistrust of Grenell is curious given the ex-spokesman’s willingness to take on prominent LGBT progressives. In a tweet earlier this year, he went after the woman who is television news’ best-known lesbian.
“Rachel Maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace,” his Twitter account, @RichardGrenell, read on January 26.
Still, the Log Cabin Republicans, in a release by executive director R. Clarke Cooper, insisted Grenell “was essentially hounded by the far right and far left.”
“Ric made the choice that he feels is best for the Romney campaign, and I respect his decision,” Cooper’s statement said. “It is unfortunate that while the Romney campaign made it clear that Grenell being an openly gay man was a non-issue for the governor and his team, the hyper-partisan discussion of issues unrelated to Ric’s national security qualifications threatened to compromise his effectiveness on the campaign trail.”
But it was the right wing that was showing off its hyper-partisanship the day after Grenell’s departure.
Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis at the anti-gay American Family Association, took to his radio show to crow about having achieved a “huge win” against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
He said, “Mitt Romney has been forced to say, ‘Look, I overstepped my bounds here. I went outside the parameters here. I went off the reservation with this hire. The pro-family community has called me back to the table here. Called me back inside the borders of the reservation.’… I will flat out guarantee you he is not going to make this mistake again. There is no way in the world that Mitt Romney is going to put a homosexual activist in any position of importance in his campaign.”