Romney adviser leaves campaign amid controversy
May 1st, 2012
05:02 PM ET
8 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. JasonP

    yeah ok, Romney's kind destroyed this country in every way... economically and socially. Obama does an amazing job piecing it back together and for a reward you want to put back into power the people who destroyed it. Well if this country is filled with people like you, then it doesn't deserve a good president like Obama. It deserves Romney and destruction.

    May 1, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. joe

    Did we really need more proof that Republicans are narrow minded bigots?

    May 1, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. DanW

    I'm pro-family. My own. Who is in your family is your business. Why does anybody need to go further than this?

    May 1, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. TamarS

    "his own personal reasons" in politics is ALWAYS a red flag! romney reveals himself slowly but surely.

    May 1, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. Mike

    What Mitt once again is a support of the gay comunity when did he flip on that, that means he has filpped a total of 4 times on just this one issue wow.......................

    May 1, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Joe from Ohio

    For some reason "rats" and "sinking ship" come to mind.

    May 1, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. smum

    Republican Party–America's Taliban.

    To his former gay advisor...what were you thinking? No sympathy for you, you should know better than being a republican.

    May 1, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. ib1sage

    Vote the agenda not the man. The man is only the front page for the agenda. Willard is not the man to lead this great country. He lacks vision, ethics and Middle class values. He Knows Nothing!
    If you really believe the lies of the Republican/Libertarian Party that we are in so much trouble that all programs have to be cut to save us without looking at the taxation issue and the wealthy tax cuts that are further proposed
    you should have a lobotomy.
    OBAMA in '12

    May 1, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Joseph Smith

    You know that Romney couldn't stomach a gay on his staff even though he tried to for a while. LDS and gays can't co-exist...bigotry.

    May 1, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. jefflz

    If Romney had any guts he would have stood up for the man he chose and told the religious extremists to take a hike. This tells us who calls the shots for Mitt.

    May 1, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. jefflz

    If CEO Romney had any guts he would have stood up for the man he chose and told the bigots to take a hike. He might have looked like a true leader then, but now we know who calls the shots when the going gets tough.

    May 1, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Furious Styles

    Superior Qualifications for the job ehh??? That means he was over qualified for the circus America is about to see and wanted no part of it. He's a smart man indeed.

    May 1, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Ken

    Sorry to disappoint Alexander but his President until 01/21/2017 will be Barack Obama whether he votes or not.

    May 1, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Wow, that is sad that someone has been forced out their job because they are a homosexual. Is there anything wrong with being a homosexual? Apparently the right wing conservatives have a problem with that. I say that is someone can get the job done, let them do it. That goes for policy formulation and being a member of the military.

    May 1, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. rude

    Romney won the repubs even tho he is NOT far right. The repub party LOVES Romneycare, they reject neocons, Romney should have kept his gay advisor and show the world he is the real McCoy. He is defeating himself.

    May 1, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. DENNA

    Wow, rats and sinking ships don't go together, do they Mitt?

    May 1, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. kris

    I hope all u romney fans are making 200,000 a year cause if not, there's somethn seriously wrong with you. Obama is the best man for the job right now. Romney is completly outa touch with society and todays struggles.

    May 2, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  18. W.G.

    The republicans War on Women and gays and Latinos and so on and so on goes on and on and ....

    May 2, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  19. clarke

    Being gay has nothing to do with doing a good job, that you are hired to do. It's to bad people are so small minded. They need to get over them selves. Mitt had no problem with him, so what is the problem.

    May 2, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  20. Karl


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

    I think they spelled twinks wrong. 😉

    May 2, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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