Richard A. Grenell, who was hired just last month as national security and foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign staff, caused a big stir in political and journalism arenas for his harsh views. Now he is causing another stir: he resigned today from the Romney camp, and media reports are suggesting he was pushed out by anti-gay conservatives in the Republic Party. Grenell worked at the United States mission for the United Nations during the George W. Bush presidency.
Grenell’s statement, published by The Washington Post, reads: “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.”
Grenell, 45, joined the Romney campaign with a solid Republican legacy, having worked for President Bush for eight years as director of communications and public diplomacy at the US mission to the UN. His immediate boss was John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006. People feared that Bolton’s denigrations of the UN would be echoed once again by Grenell through his Romney post and a Romney presidency, if that materialized.
The Washington Post quoted articles in the National Review, the conservative publication, saying that Grenell could not be openly gay and work for a Republican presidential candidate. Grenell was also apparently left out of the Romney campaign conversation recently on the merits of President Obama’s national security policies.
In addition, Grenell attracted attention for deleting hundreds of his own tweets, notably those on prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, when he was first hired by Romney.
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Dulcie Leimbach is a co-founder, with Barbara Crossette, of PassBlue. For PassBlue and other publications, Leimbach has reported from New York and overseas from West Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali) and from Europe (Scotland, Sicily, Vienna, Budapest, Kyiv, Armenia, Iceland and The Hague). She has provided commentary on the UN for BBC World Radio, ARD German TV and Radio, NHK’s English channel, Background Briefing with Ian Masters/KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and the Foreign Press Association.
Previously, she was an editor for the Coalition for the UN Convention Against Corruption; from 2008 to 2011, she was the publications director of the United Nations Association of the USA. Before UNA, Leimbach was an editor at The New York Times for more than 20 years, editing and writing for most sections of the paper, including the Magazine, Book Review and Op-Ed. She began her reporting career in small-town papers in San Diego, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., graduating to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and then working at The Times. Leimbach has been a fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies as well as at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; taught news reporting at Hofstra University; and guest-lectured at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an M.F.A. in writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.