Former Romney spox Grenell: Don't vote on gay marriage
May 23rd, 2012
11:58 AM ET
2 years ago

Former Romney spox Grenell: Don't vote on gay marriage

(CNN) – Richard Grenell, the former Mitt Romney spokesman who resigned after two weeks on the job, said in an op-ed published Wednesday that gay Republicans have an important role in the conservative political movement and should not stay silent.

"The claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is not only bigoted but is a bipartisan view," Grenell, who served as the director of communications for the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2009, wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans. When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers."

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Grenell's short tenure on Romney's campaign was 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.

Grenell faced recent scrutiny over reports that he deleted hundreds of posts on Twitter shortly after being tapped 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.

In an interview following Grenell's departure, Romney said his campaign organization urged him to remain on their team.

"We wanted him to stay with our team," Romney said in an interview on Fox News. "He is a very accomplished spokesperson."

Romney said Grenell's sexual orientation played no part in his hiring.

"We select people not based upon their ethnicity or sexual preference or gender but upon their capability. We are sorry to have him go," Romney said.

In his op-ed Wednesday, Grenell wrote that Romney and his advisers knew his sexual orientation when he was hired.

"The governor and his team knew that I have consistently challenged the Obama administration's failure to lead the world and confront the most important international issues we face. They also knew I was gay," Grenell wrote.

He said that Romney's position on same-sex marriage – which Grenell disagrees with – was not enough to write him off as a candidate.

"Like many voters, I rarely agree with a candidate's every position," Grenell wrote. "I can support Mr. Romney for president but not agree with all of his stated policies. I can be proud of President Obama's personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national-security and economic records."

He continued, "Millions of American voters will also evaluate both candidates' policies in total and come to the same conclusion: Mr. Obama doesn't deserve to be re-elected and Mr. Romney does."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    He continued, "Millions of American voters will also evaluate both candidates' policies in total and come to the same conclusion: Mr. Obama doesn't deserve to be re-elected and Mr. Romney does."
    ====================================================================================
    Well, at least he's got his head screwed on straight!!!

    May 23, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans. When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers."

    "I can support Mr. Romney for president but not agree with all of his stated policies. I can be proud of President Obama's personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national-security and economic records."

    "Millions of American voters will also evaluate both candidates' policies in total and come to the same conclusion: Mr. Obama doesn't deserve to be re-elected and Mr. Romney does."
    --------–
    Wow. This guy definitely has his act together.

    May 23, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. RAWoD

    I agree that it is the two extremes that are getting the headlines. Why? Probably because there no longer seems to be a middle to the GOP.

    May 23, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Obvious Guy

    I object to gays being republicans for the same reason that I object to poor people, public workers, middle class workers, women, blacks, minorities, and almost anyone else except the richest 1 % to being republicans. But hey, if you wanna vote against your own interest and then complain about it later, have fun!

    May 23, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Polli

    My views are based on knowing many many gays, love them but No, marriage is a much more important an Ideal than being Gay for our kids....

    May 23, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The GOP are also voting against civil unions, women's rights, seniors, veterans, college students, immigrants, Blacks, Hispanics, college students, poor people, the uninsured, workers, the middle class, teachers, firemen, policemen, nurses, and snow low drivers.

    May 23, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Ridiculous. Nobody on the left "objects to" gay people being Republicans. There's a difference between believing in conservative principles and calling youself Republican versus actively associating with and supporting the contemporary, radicalized GOP/Teatroll ESTABLISHMENT, which is unabashedly bigotted and pandering to the extreme religious right. If you can't understand that difference, go read a biography of Teddy Roosevelt or something.

    May 23, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    How can someone who does not accept a portion of his own country be expected to lead and solve foreign issues with people who live completely different lives than him all over the world. The government has no right to regulate or suggest how the social aspects of a person’s life should be carried out.

    May 23, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Obvious Guy

    Polli
    My views are based on knowing many many gays, love them but No, marriage is a much more important an Ideal than being Gay for our kids....

    I'm sorry, but why do you get to decide that you deserve something but these people you "love" don't deserve it? From that little sentence you wrote, I think your gay "friends" have more of a right to be married than you do. Because when gay citizens finally get equal right to marry, they will be happy and support equal rights for others. You, Polli, on the other hand, will stay full of hate and think you are better than other people just because you don't like their lifestyle. I would rather people like you not procreate so that my children will be able to live in a safer world.

    May 23, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Angel

    This man was driven out by certain individuals of the party and Romney did not stand up against his party for him. Romney left this man out on a limb. As president, how many other groups of individuals will he not stand up for.

    May 23, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In his op-ed Wednesday, Grenell wrote that Romney and his advisers knew his sexual orientation when he was hired.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes, and then you and it became an inconvenient truth.
    EXPENDABLE sweetie. People are EXPENDABLE to Team Romney.
    What don't you get about this?
    Obama Cares, Romney doesn't.

    May 23, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Scott

    I love how the republicans are always telling us how we should vote in order to better them. What? You care about this issue and this issue? Well, even though my I don't support those issues, and my opponent does, I suggest you not worrying about those issues and voting for me...

    So far I've heard all the reasons not to vote for Obama (most which fall flat), but I have yet to hear a reason, let alone a good reason, to vote for Mitt The Mexican Mormon. Anyone have one?

    May 23, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In his op-ed Wednesday, Grenell wrote that Romney and his advisers knew his sexual orientation when he was hired
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'll re-phrase:
    You became expendable to Team Romney, for whatever reason. You had to go.
    Perhaps you being so openly gay became an "inconvenent truth" for Team Romney.

    One question Mr. Grenell: who asked you to "re-visit" this topic in this manner? You were fired a couple of weeks ago. Old news.

    May 23, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans.
    ---------------
    Someone needs to explain to Grenell that most people on the left complain about *anyone* being a Republican, not just gays. People with a variety of misplaced priorities vote for Republicans, especailly when doing so is against their own best interests. They love the social message and the "the experts and masters" will take care of you aspect built into conservative ideology.

    May 23, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. billgme

    He's right on his stated opposition to Romney on same sex marriage, but like he says if you look at Obama; he's destroying the country with his attack on the Catholic church and his prolific spending, morgaging our countries future. Look at Europe, Obama wants to take us down the same road as Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland. We are bankrupting this country with entitlements we can't afford. Why didn't he listen to the Bowles Simpson bi-partisan committee he formed to deal with our huge nat'l problem.

    May 23, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Scotty

    You know, the same thing happened with when the Nazis persecuted gays and lesbians.

    The far right – the real aggressive Nazis – led the bigoted assault on the community.

    But the far left was just as bad – encouraging gays and lesbians NOT to be Nazis . . .

    May 23, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Sensible people can certainly wonder why a person would work so tirelessly to be wanted by a party that castigates them.
    If Mr. Grennell wants to vote for those that see him as a second class citizen, that's his right. And I have a right to question why he would and question his thinking how Willard is better on national security (gotta watch out for Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union LOL!!) or Willard's job killing vulture capitalism; not an "intolerant assault" by any means. The intolerant assault is reserved for his party (see getting run out of RMoney's campaign...)

    May 23, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Angel - This man was driven out by certain individuals of the party
    ================================================
    What are you smoking? He quit after two weeks because he couldn't do what his bosses asked him to do, namely sit there, shut up and offer advice.

    He sounds pretty full of himself to expect to come into a campaign and just start spouting off in phoneconferences, especially with a record of putting his foot in his mouth. The only mistake here was hiring him in the first place.

    May 23, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Myviewis

    He worked for Bush, he's known to be Gay, Romney knew he is gay and now there is a problem? The more I read about Grenell the more it ound to me like his partner might be the reason for his leaving, many times people quit a job because of the spouse.

    May 23, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. QS

    "I can be proud of President Obama's personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national-security and economic records."

    As a gay man myself, let me just say that we generally don't "attack" gay conservatives just for being conservatives....like any other conservative there are so many other good reasons to – statements like this one are just a prime example of why we think conservatives in general, gay or not, are simply bad for the country all around, not just on social issues.

    This statement is a lie as far as I'm concerned, and whether the person making the statement was gay or not, I'd have an issue with that person being in any position of authority.

    May 23, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |