May 2nd, 2012
05:55 PM ET
8 years ago

Romney adviser left after being silenced, source says

(CNN) – A foreign policy spokesman for the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney left his job in part because he was restricted from speaking publicly, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN on Wednesday.

The source said Richard Grenell, who was hired to the Romney camp less than two weeks before his departure, was told on several occasions not to speak on the campaign's conference calls with reporters.

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The Romney campaign confirmed Grenell's departure on Tuesday.

Grenell's hire was marked by controversy, as he had previously tweeted criticism of high-profile Democratic women, as well as criticism of one-time GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista. Social conservatives also criticized the Romney campaign's hire of an openly gay Republican operative.

In a Wednesday interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," Romney senior adviser Dan Senor said that Grenell had apologized for the tweets, and "he certainly wasn't speaking for the campaign."

"Richard Grenell was an extremely talented public servant who worked for four US ambassadors to the United Nations," Senor told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I worked with him in the early part of the 2000s and [he] is an extremely talented guy and we were lucky to have him."

In a statement on Tuesday, Romney's campaign manager said they were "disappointed" in the departure.

"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."

- CNN's Mary Snow and Adam Reiss contributed to this report.

Also see:

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White House says Afghanistan trip not political

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Didn't this grennel guy work for the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Sorry jerry, you can't blame the dems when your ilk's longtime spokespeople open their mouths or tweet like the twits they are!

    May 3, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Tex71

    Hey , at least the GOP is sparing no effort to make it clear to all that they despise EVERYONE except very wealthy people.

    May 3, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Grenell is a professional and it's a sad day in America when being gay/lesbian out weighs intelligence. Remember, former VP Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter and nobody in the GOP talked about it.

    May 3, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Regardless of whether it was voluntary or involuntary....the fact is, a well-qualified senior advisor left the Romney campaign within 2 weeks of coming on board says that he was poorly vetted (I worry about the criteria that the GOP would use, but that's another issue). Bottom line, it makes Romney's team look indecisive and disorganized. Hmmm. Jimmy Carter would have known better!

    May 3, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. CitizenAJ

    Well, you all beat me to what I would say, other than, I feel sorry for the people who just blindly follow this republican party and come up with their own wierd science version of facts to substantiate supporting them. Sad.

    May 3, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Lolo

    The GOP are nothing but liars, hypocrites and haters. Romney keeps bringing up J. Carter, can he please move to the future. At least Carter was ppresident. Romney is a loser who thinks that he is entitled to be president which is not how you get the job. This man knows nothing about government or how it is ran. His base is so hateful they will pick any white man so long as they are in lock and step and not a minority. They say one thing and then turn around and show their true colors. What does this man being gay have to do with his job? I call this descrimination and they should be called on it.

    May 3, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. A. Goodwin

    Of course he left...does anyone really think that GOPers want gay people to be anyway affiliated with their party? I have no idea why gay people even try!!!

    May 3, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. ART

    I have always said that being gay and Republican is an oxymoron

    May 3, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Larry L

    Does this mean Romney, should he get ellected, will attempt to fire gay people serving in the U.S. Armed Forces? Unlike Romney these people are actually serving their country and don't deserve this sort of disrespect.

    May 3, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Laverne

    @ Debby...... You are not to smart to think he was fired. When people begin to shut you out and don't acknowledge your role nor want to hear what you have to say.........well you are fired in a sneaky and deliberate way. As usual Mitt Romney sits on the sidelines and say nothing, afterall he is supose to be the captain of his ship and he is anything but that. He is a coward who has not once showed any leadership skills or spine on any issues except criticizing Obama. He is a loser and he will lose this fall and he will have lots of time to reflect on his own desperation to be president that he stood for NOTHING! I will vote for no one before I vote for Romney!

    May 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. babs

    Another instance when the Mittster shows absolutely no backbone. R. Money is an empty suit. His wife has more testosterone.

    May 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Sniffit

    In other words, Captain Token was meant to be seen and not heard.

    May 3, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. panorain

    Loose cannon. Tweeting and posting and commenting and posturing about various issues after only two weeks on the job! Try that at your company. Set your own agenda and publicly push it under the guise of speaking for your boss and company. See how long you last.

    May 3, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. gino

    Now we know who controls (and will continue to control) Romney: right wing extremists

    May 3, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. DaveC

    I have said it before and I will say it again. If you are a woman, minority or gay/lesbian and you are voting republican at this moment (notice I said at this moment) you need your head examined. This was not the case during the Reagan or Bush Sr. era. The republican party was inclusive then. Not now. Republicans can't even stand each other let alone hate democrats. As a former republican I am so sad to see the state of a party I was proud to belong to. It really stinks.

    You know, I really hoped that the republican party presidential candidate this year would be different. I hoped that he or she could say no to the crazy side of the party. I hoped that he or she would be inclusive and echo hope for all Americans. Instead we go Mitt. The best of a mediocre bunch. How sad.

    May 3, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Kwesoe

    He was hired to be a windowdresser for the campaign. "See, we have a gay man on our staff, so we're not anti LGBT."

    May 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. alexi

    The Republican party of today is so radicalized that even lincoln wont recognize it. Heck even Bush wasnt this nuts. He was stupid and power hungry but not this radical. In fact Garnell worked for Bush.

    May 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. lies from the right but mostly hate

    If you are not a male white with a buttload of money then the GreedOverPeople is not interested in your existance

    May 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Cynthia

    Why aren't the Republican voters asking Mitt Romney about the recent statement out of Grover Norquist's mouth. You know, the statement that they really don't need a president, just someone who can hold a pen and sign what the Norquist Idea Thugs send to his desk. He'll be listening to them.
    I didn't know we elected geeky Grover to anything. In fact, I am waiting for Mittens to comment on the fact he'll only be sitting at a desk with pen in hand to do their bidding. Yuck, yuck, yuck and I'm not laughing.

    May 3, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    A pander here, and a pander there, and oh look, the panderer got bit.

    If indeed Grenell had to delete his controversial "tweets" to make TeamRomney more "comfortable" with him, why was he given the campaign postion to begin with?

    May 3, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. NickAnast


    Loose cannon. Tweeting and posting and commenting and posturing about various issues after only two weeks on the job! Try that at your company. Set your own agenda and publicly push it under the guise of speaking for your boss and company. See how long you last.
    One problem with that: His tweets were sent out BEFORE he joined the Rmoney campaign. When his hiring was announced, it was considered controversial because of the tweets and his past association with the Bush administration.

    May 3, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Joi Gibson

    Can Willard not speak for himself? The man should be out front and center advocating for Mr Grenell, if that is how Willard really feels. However, his silence speaks volumes. And people will actually vote for this man who does not seem to be able to stand up for what he believes in. Oh wait, what does he really believe in. It changes with the wind.


    May 3, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Rebecca

    Shame on Romney and his campaign.

    May 3, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney says his grand plan for fixing the US economy and his foreign policy chops is "doing the opposite of what President Obama is doing!"

    President Obama says we are moving FORWARD!....Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney says he is moving BACKWARD to GW Bush failed economic policies that caused the US recession, being anit-gay, against women, poor, hispanics, minorities, letting "Detroit Go Bankrupt", not killing OBL, etc!

    When is Etch-a-Sketch Mitt gonna grow a back bone and stop being childish?....Well, this idiot Mitt is gonna hide behind Karl Rove & Koch Brothers dirty campaign ads without really saying or doing ANYTHING!

    Sorry, it may have worked in the GOP primary against two crazies Santorum & Newt, but not in the general....President Obama is moving FORWARD come Nov 2012!!!

    May 3, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Independent Voters

    Romney is a liar and flip flop I dont trust him. Romney need to answer my question why he outsource jobs overseas and also why hidding his tax returns.

    May 3, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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