Richard Grenell, the openly-gay conservative foreign policy spokesperson hired by Mitt Romney, has resigned from the campaign following right-wing pressure, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin reports. “[M]y 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,” Grenell said in a statement, which came less than two weeks after he was hired. Conservative groups like the American Family Foundation painted Grenell as a “homosexual activist” and condemned Romney for bringing him on board. From his statement:
GRENELL: I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. 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 reports that Grenell was also frustrated for “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.”
The former spokesperson for U.N. Ambassador John Bolton had also come under fire for tweeting all sorts of flippant comments about liberals, Democrats, women and, especially, U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. Only a day after the announcement of his new post, Grenell joked on Twitter that President Obama had committed treason by passing missile secrets to the Russians. Shortly after his appointment, he scrubbed much of his online presence, deleting over 800 tweets and taking down his personal website.
Rubin adds that “officials from the Romney campaign and respected Republicans not on the campaign contacted Ric Grenell over the weekend in an attempt to persuade him not to leave the campaign.” Grenell was upset that there was no public statement of support for him “by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.”
The Romney campaign reacts: “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”