Ordinarily, a presidential campaign hiring a foreign policy spokesperson would generate very few headlines, but the Romney campaign’s decision to add Richard Grenell to the team has proven to be a little more interesting.
For some on the right, Grenell’s sexual orientation is apparently supposed to be a dealbreaker.
A leading anti-gay figure in the Republican Party attacked Governor Mitt Romney for hiring an openly gay spokesman, sending a shot from the GOP’s socially-conservative base across the nominee’s bow.
Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, is probably the most straightforwardly anti-gay Republican to appear regularly in the party’s mainstream. Presidential candidates including Rick Santorum have appeared on his radio show, and he spoke at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October.
He responded yesterday to Romney’s decision to hire an openly-gay – “out & loud gay,” in Fischer’s terms – foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell by calling it a “message to the pro-family community” of “drop dead.”
Today, Fischer announced a series of steps he expects Romney to take in order to “contain the collateral damage from this spectacularly misbegotten decision.” Among the demands: bringing back “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a formal endorsement of North Carolina’s pending anti-gay ballot measure. [Update: Fischer isn’t the only conservative outraged by the hire.]
From a very different perspective, some on the other end of the political spectrum have taken note of Grenell’s messages on social media, many of which have targeted women in politics and media. Michael Calderone reported over the weekend that Grenell “appears to have deleted more than 800 of his past tweets following scrutiny over numerous swipes aimed at the media, prominent Democratic women and the Gingriches. Grenell also apparently took down his personal site, which featured writing on politics, foreign affairs and the media.”
As for whether Grenell’s messages have any relevance in the presidential campaign, it’s difficult for Team Romney to say President Obama bears responsibility for everything Bill Maher and Hilary Rosen say, especially about women, but Romney bears no responsibility for what his own foreign policy spokesperson has said.
If you missed it, here’s a segment we ran on Friday’s show that mentioned some of Grenell’s messages.