Richard Grenell has stepped down as national security and foreign policy spokesperson for the Mitt Romney campaign only a couple of weeks after taking the job. Grenell cited opposition from anti-gay conservatives as the reason for his resignation. Grenell is openly gay.
His statement, from The Washington Post‘s Right Turn blog, is available after the jump. The blog cites coverage in outlets like National Review and Daily Caller as part of the conservative backlash against Grenell’s appointment. Because of the criticism, the Romney campaign kept Grenell from doing his job. He is also a partner as Los Angeles-based Capitol Media Partners.
In his short time with the campaign, Grenell also (rightfully) faced criticism for some of his recent tweets. He wrote that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was ”starting to look like Madeline Albright” and advised MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow to “take a breath and put on a necklace.” The tweets have since been removed.
*Updated after the jump.
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.
*Update: Mitt Romney’s campaign manager Matt Rhoades has issued a statement saying the campaign would’ve liked to keep Grenell, but that he resigned for “his own personal reasons.” A source tells ABC News that Grenell wouldn’t have officially started the job until today. The Obama campaign’s digital director Teddy Goff tweeted: “Today we learned that in the year 2012, a Republican nominee for President can’t have a gay person as spokesman.”