Richard Grenell, known as Ric, resigned
from his post as Mitt Romney's foreign policy spokesman after being
muzzled by the campaign.
According to The
New York Times, Grenell was ordered by the campaign to lie
low until a storm over his sexual orientation – Grenell is openly
gay – blew over.
After organizing a media conference
call to denounce President Obama on national security, Grenell was
told by senior Romney aides to keep quiet during the call. The
incident occurred on Thursday and Grenell announced he had separated
from the campaign on Tuesday.
Grenell's hiring sparked an outcry
from some Christian conservatives who chided Romney for placing an
openly gay man in such a high-profile position.
Chief among his critics was Bryan
Fischer of the Christian conservative American Family Association.
Fischer argued that the hire signaled
support for gay rights from the Romney campaign.
tore into Grenell's sexual orientation on his AFA-sponsored radio
program, Focal Point, claiming
that gay men are about “short-lived relationships and frequent
anonymous sexual encounters,” though he added that he wasn't
certain whether Grenell, who is in a 10 year relationship, “indulged
Later, Fischer called on Romney, a
Mormon, to condemn gay sex if he wanted the evangelical vote.
Romney's church teaches this conduct is considered sinful. …
Governor Romney do you agree with the teachings of your church?”
“It's not that the campaign cared
whether Ric Grenell was gay,” an unnamed Republican adviser told
the paper. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn't
want to confront the religious right.”
R. Clarke Cooper of the gay GOP group
Log Cabin Republicans called the incident a misstep.
“If one wanted to look at how it
could have been done differently, they could have gotten Ric off the
bench and onto the field,” Cooper said. “There's been a lot
going on this week on foreign policy, with Syria, Hillary Clinton in
China, Obama in Afghanistan. There's a lot happening where Ric could
have been present.”
Christopher Barron, a co-founder of the
gay Republican group GOProud, added: “Clearly, the Romney campaign
thought if they could put him in a box for a while it would go away.
It is an unforced error on their part.”
“It doesn't bode well for the Romney
campaign going forward if they couldn't stand up to the most
outrageous attacks about him being gay,” Barron said.