Romney's Out Gay Spokesman Quits, Says Focus on "Personal Issues" Diminished Ability to Do the Job

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 1, 2012 3:35 PM |

The Washington Post's Right Turn blog reports that the Romney campaign's high-profile gay spokesman, Richard Grenell, has resigned today.

Grenell was named on April 19 as the spokesman for the campaign on national security and foreign policy issues, having served as the spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration.

According to the Post, he writes:

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.

Grenell did not immediately respond to Metro Weekly's request for comment on whether his mention of "personal issues" was relating to his tweets -- which have been the subject of criticism -- or his sexual orientation -- which also has drawn fire -- or something else altogether.

At the time of his naming, Andrew Sullivan, who had endorsed Obama's 2008 run, wrote of the news, "For Romney to have an openly gay spokesman is a real outreach to gay Republicans, a subtle signal to moderates, and the Santorum faction's reaction will be worth noting."

GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia said at the time that Grenell was "the best person for the job," and Log Cabin Rebublicans's Clarke Cooper said Grenell would be "a tremendous asset" to the Romney campaign.

UPDATE @ 5:10P: LCR's Cooper said in a statement today: "Ric made the choice that he feels is best for the Romney campaign, and I respect his decision. 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.

"As a Bush Administration colleague of Ric, I can attest to his experience and qualifications in the national security portfolio.  Ric was essentially hounded by the far right and far left. The Romney campaign has lost a well-known advocate of conservative ideas and a talented spokesman, and I am certain he will remain an active voice for a confident U.S. foreign policy."

The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, meanwhile, took a different view -- continuing in his sparring with Grenell today and concluding his post by writing, "Grennell chose power over principle when he took the Romney gig. Now he has neither."

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