Romney’s openly gay spokesperson resigns due to anti-gay backlash

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Richard Grenell, the openly gay man who was appointed as the security and foreign policy spokesperson by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has resigned from his position, due to fierce opposition from anti-gay conservatives, the Washington Post reports.

Mr Grenell was appointed just over a week ago for the post, which provoked an immediate outcry from right-wing conservatives, though that wasn’t the only reason for controversy. He also had deleted some 800 tweets prior to the appointment that some people saw as sexist.

A statement obtained by Jennifer Rubin at the Post reads:

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.

It seems that Mr Grenell decided to resign after he was kept in the dark on national security issues, which have taken centre-stage in the presidential campaign. This is believed to have followed from widespread outcry from social conservatives, including publications such as the Daily Caller and the National Review. The central argument was, according to Ms Rubin, Mr Grenell couldn’t both be openly gay and serve as a spokesperson on the Republican side, despite his having been a loyal member of the Grand Old Party for many years, and even having worked under the neoconservative John Bolton at the United Nations.

Washington Post has also discovered that senior officials from the Romney campaign attempted to dissuade Mr Grenell over the weekend from resigning, but without effect. That he was never allowed to speak during the past two weeks as a foreign policy spokesperson, and that he received no public statement of support from the Republican campaign meant that he felt he couldn’t continue in his position.

Matt Rhoades, campaign manager for Mr Romney, released a statement, where he said: “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”