GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Richard Grenell, the 1984 Jenison High School graduate who signed on to and then off from Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign within two weeks, said extreme Democrats led to his short-term role as Romney’s national security and foreign policy spokesman.
In an interview with the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., Grenell acknowledged taking flak from far right conservatives, but said he was not forced out by the Romney camp. He claimed liberals were to blame.
“The far left doesn’t want a gay person to be conservative and the far right doesn’t want a conservative to be gay. Some of the most hateful, mean-spirited intolerant comments about me being the foreign policy and national security spokesman for Governor Romney … were coming from the left,” Grenell told the newspaper.
But the newspaper’s coverage noted that while some Democratic strategists alleged it showed Romney’s campaign was anti-gay, it was conservative groups who led the way celebrating the resignation.
Leading the charge was the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who called Grenell’s departure a “huge win for us,” the paper said.
Grenell denied to the newspaper that he was forced out by social conservatives, noting that he’s been an openly-gay Republican spokesman for decades.
“The right I’m very comfortable with, taking those hits and barbs, because I’ve had a 20-year career where I’ve worked for politicians, I’ve worked on elections, on campaigns, and I know exactly the trajectory of the assaults from the far right.”
He said he didn’t want to be a distraction to the Romney campaign and that no one inside it asked him to walk away.
“They did not force me to resign. I resigned because I’m very passionate about foreign policy and national security issues.” But, he says, “When the messenger becomes part of the message — if you really care about these issues — you should step aside.”