On Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, resigned due to scornful criticism from anti-gay conservatives. John Aravosis from America Blog reported that Romney had refused to let the spokesman do any work for a good two weeks while the scandal brewed. It appears that there was more reason for Grenell to leave than just the negative remarks made.
Huffington Post’s Jon Ward reported that the Romney campaign specifically told Grenell to “be quiet and not to speak up until it went away,” which was said by a source familiar with the matter in reference to criticism of his sexual orientation by anti-gay conservatives. A source close to the Romney campaign said Grenell was asked to “lay low.”
Ward also reported that the Romney campaign has said Grenell had not been sent out to talk about foreign policy issues before this week because he was not scheduled to start until May 1. However, that explanation did not make sense to some, including a former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. Read more after the break…
Fleischer publicly questioned why Mitt Romney seemed to have benched his own spokesman in the face of the anti-gay criticism, and while foreign policy issues were ront and center in the political conversation.
“Why wasn’t Rick the spokesman in the last couple of days, when foreign policy was paramount? That’s the piece I don’t understand,” Fleischer told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post. “I don’t know why he wasn’t the spokesman on foreign policy for the last several days. It’s something that nobody understands.”
To add further detail into how Grenell was forced to lay low—Andrew Sullivan from the The Dish said that Grenell was “muzzled” last week on a conference call he helped set up to respond to Vice President Biden’s foreign policy speech. Sullivan said that Grenell was not introduced by name as part of the Romney team at the beginning of the call, and appeared to be completely absent from the conversation. Some even called and questioned him afterwards as to why he was absent. “Sources close to Grenell say that he was specifically told by those high up in the Romney campaign to stay silent on the call, even while he was on it, and this was not the only time he had been instructed to shut up,“ Sullivan said.