Richard Grenell, an openly gay and longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman hired last month by Mitt Romney’s campaign, is leaving the campaign less than two weeks after his appointment, reports The Huffington Post.
“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,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager said.
Richard Grenell served four American ambassadors to the United Nations during the presidency of George W. Bush, tells The New York Times.
But his selection had been criticized by some social conservatives right after he was named as Mr. Romney’s campaign spokesman for national security issues less than two weeks ago.
Grenell had come under fire for tweets about prominent women such as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Callista Gingrich and Michelle Obama. Later he scrubbed over 800 tweets from his Twitter feed and deleted his personal website.
Grenell’s resignation was first reported by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin. “I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman,” Grenell said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post.
“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,” he added.
Richard Grenell is coming to help Rep. Mary Bono Mack, according to the Political Insider. Mr. Mack announced in a tweet that Grenell was returning to his Palm Springs home and “has offered to help with my campaign.”
According to Marc Troast, Bono Mack’s political director, Grenell offered to help out Bono Mack’s campaign when the two met at the recent Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awards. Bono Mack’s stepson, Chaz Bono, was being honored at the event.
“We hope he can help gain votes and raise funds,” Troast said in an email. It is known that Bono Mack is a strong supporter of Romney’s campaign.
Among those who called Grenell in recent days to try to persuade him not to quit were his former boss and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, according to ABC News.
Democrats immediately pounced on the incident as an example of the Romney campaign caving to anti-gay forces on the right.
“Today we learned that in the year 2012, a Republican nominee for President can’t have a gay person as spokesman,” tweeted the Obama campaign’s digital director, Teddy Goff.
Bill Burton, a former White House spokesman who is now the head of a Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action, said in an interview with ABC News that Grenell’s departure was a “show of incredible weakness on the part of Mitt Romney.”