Romney adviser leaves campaign amid controversy
May 1st, 2012
05:02 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney adviser leaves campaign amid controversy

(CNN) – Richard Grenell, who joined Mitt Romney's team as a foreign policy adviser less than two weeks ago, has left the campaign, a spokesman for the likely Republican presidential nominee confirmed Tuesday.

"We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons," 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."

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Since joining the campaign in mid-April, Grenell's short tenure has been marked by controversy involving his Twitter account, as well as heavy criticism of Grenell's sexual orientation from some on the conservative right. The longtime Republican strategist is openly gay.

Most pressing, Grenell faced recent scrutiny over reports that he had deleted hundreds of posts on Twitter shortly after being appointed by the Romney campaign.

The tweets, written prior to his hiring, criticized the physical appearances of certain high-profile Democratic women, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Archived online, the Twitter posts also included several jabs aimed at Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, during the Republican presidential primary.

Grenell previously served in the George W. Bush administration as a communications director at the United Nations and an adviser to four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N.

Also since joining the Romney campaign, Grenell has taken heat from the anti-gay group American Family Association.

Writing in a blog last week, Bryan Fischer, a director for the conservative group, argued: "The message Gov. Romney appears to be sending to the pro-family community through his Grenell appointment is 'drop dead'."

Later, during an interview on CNN, Fischer referred to Grenell's hire as a "big gain for the homosexual lobby."

In a statement obtained by the Washington Post, Grenell pointed to the public discussion over his sexual orientation as a reason for leaving the campaign.

"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," Grenell said in the statement.

He added: "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."

- CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Twitter
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    You have to be a dumb republican to work for romnycare in the first place. After Nov Dem landslide, the pink slips will fly, andrea and the rest of you bafoons . He likes to fire people ,remember , we do!!!

    May 1, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    I guess we know where dip stands on gays , actions speak louder than words. Another flip flop.

    May 1, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Jim Hahn

    You simply can't be Gay and Republican and survive. Remember Richard that Republicans eat their own and in spite of what Mitt had to say, you didn't pass the ideology purity exam.

    May 1, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Richard Grenell, openly gay man and former Bush Administration official, served foreign policy spokesman for Romney campaign left because of his tweets. lol

    May 1, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. 2Stevetundra

    Gutless !! this is what Mittens is all about ..if he can't stand up to his own party how will mittens ever stand up to our terrorist ?? Hmmm... Hide behind Ann Roomney !!!

    ANN ROOMNEY 2012 !! DOWN WITH MITT ROOMNEY

    May 1, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Chris

    Romney ROCKS! too bad, sounds like too many skeletons in Grennel's closet. President Romney in 2102!

    May 1, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. chris craig

    Being gay obviously is an issue if he is leaving the campaign because he can't speak openly and forcefully on issues. What does that say for the American Family Association and the conservative right? The message is clear.... Impede the right of Americans to speak freely, but only if they are gay.

    May 1, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. normajean @ verizon ,com

    From the outside looking in...I can see why Richard Grenell would resign!.. He probably hadn't realized just how little Romney knew about what is going on in this world,,, that which isn't in HIS tight little world anyway,,, and how much he DIDN'T know nor care about it!!! Mitt Romney seems to be a likable enough person but he does live in that 1% world that often loses contact with the frustration and sadness in the 99% world!!
    !

    May 1, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Romie probably thought Grenell's appointment would not upset his base. It did. That's what the Repubs are all about. If they don't approve of you or the way you live your life, you are toast! Too bad Romie caved in.

    May 1, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Team Romney" No gays apply" to hard to work in your own party.... lose the bigot vote. Wow what a " leader"!!!

    May 1, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Alexanders

    Go Romney!!! He sure is the best this time.. I voted Obama, now go a way Obama. It's Romney's time.

    May 1, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Cam

    Richard Grenell is a neoconservative. I do not support the neoconservative agenda of continous, pre-emptive wars and nation building in the name of democracy. I don't care what Grenell does as far as his personal life goes. Ron Paul 2012

    May 1, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Romney adviser leaves campaign amid controversy◄
    But yet they were upset that he left so what could the problem be
    Why wouldn't they KEEP HIM, he was very intelligent, so they say?
    Oh, it must be because ►The longtime Republican strategist is openly gay.◄

    Please – once the Republicans make it to the 21st Century, it'll all be good.

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    May 1, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Peter

    Alexanders...you're full of it. I seriously doubt that either, you voted for Obama or that you sincerely think it's Romney's time.

    May 1, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. William dodge

    Should I say I'm not gay when I'm gay?

    May 1, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. NRC

    Alexanders me too, I voted Obama last time, because I thought McCain would die and leave us with Palin. I am not making that mistake again, I am going with Romney too.

    May 1, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. greg

    romney will leave you with nothing but a bitter taste in your mouth.

    May 1, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Bill in Florida

    Funny that the "hyper partisanship" that Grenell speaks about is coming from his own party!

    May 1, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. jrcnnjr

    Richard, when you align yourself with Bigots, they will eventually turn on you, and you are a fool if you think otherwise. Many Republicans are ignorant and would foolishly vote against their own and their families interests, see the U.S. destroyed – cut off your arms, etc. – as long as their vote reflects that they are clinging to their ignorance, bigotry, and hate . . . . . their sick definition of being a Patriot and proud American . . . . Richard, you got exactly what you deserve: keep being a fool and supporting Republicans and see how far that gets you. . . . . .

    May 1, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. in Austin

    I bet Mittens took some heat for having him on the team and fired him.
    Then gave him money to say nice things.

    May 1, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. steven harnack

    What foreign policy failures? Not starting any major wars? Reducing the world's nuclear weapons? Other nations actually wanting to form coalitions with us instead of being forced to? I can't even imagine how messed up a gay war monger in the Republican Party must be. I think that the President has been doing a wonderful foreign policy job. It's one area where Republicans can't thwart evey move he makes.

    May 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. 1zb1

    Just another little reminder Romney/Republican/Tparty is the party of hate and bigots.

    May 1, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. scoobypoo

    A gay republican is truly an oxymoron. It makes no sense. The GOP hates gays.

    May 1, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. blairablair

    obama cult got to him just like they did the Clinton's. obama has proven if you are against him you or your family are done. Poor guy had 2 strikes against him where obama is concerned and obama used it towards his own good. 1. He was Gay and 2 he was against obama.

    May 1, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  25. Emperor Vadik, CA

    When will people learn that if you are gay, a woman, a minority, or anything other than a middle aged white man, you will NEVER be accepted by the Republicans...

    ...if someone shows you who they are, why wont you believe them???

    May 1, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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