Report: Santorum’s Communications Director is “Openly Gay”

RtPageOneQ is reporting that Robert Traynham, communications director for U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, has told them he is “an out gay man who completely supports the Senator.”

From PageOneQ:

“When asked how a gay man could speak for one of the nation’s most notorious homophobes, Traynham, left, protested that has ‘been with the Senator for eight years.’ Traynham went on to say ‘Senator Santorum is a man of principle, he is a man who sticks up for what he believes in, I strongly do support Senator Santorum.'”

Santorum equated homosexuality with bestiality in an April 2003 interview: “Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

Santorum has been a strong supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment and believes that gays and lesbians should not be able to express physical love towards one another: “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.”

In the past week, Santorum has come under fire for his comments regarding the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church, suggesting that Boston’s “basic liberal attitude” fostered an environment where these kinds of abuses could occur.

Yet, if PageOneQ’s allegations are true, we have a gay man supporting Senator Santorum at the highest levels. And we wonder why achieving equality is so difficult!


  1. says

    He obviously cherishes his job, and has decided to wait until it is over before speaking his mind. This is not really admirable.

  2. says

    Mike Rogers is suuuuuch a great reporter. Not that I dispute the story (I mean, gays in Santorum’s office is no big secret), but nowhere does he actually quote Rob as saying he is openly gay. Sloppy, shoddy, moronic.

  3. Glenn says

    Matt, I don’t understand. Mike’s story clearly says that Traynham, on the phone call, “said he is an out gay man.” What the hell difference does it make that he doesn’t quote him directly? What if Rogers asked him if he was openly gay, and he said “Yes”? That not good enough for you? You need a transcript? Very strange journalistic standard you’re applying there. One might even say, “sloppy, shoddy, and moronic.” But I wouldn’t say that.

  4. aj says

    are we debating about whether this guy is gay or whether he has at one point ever said that he was gay? just because someone says they are gay doesn’t mean that they are – the content of a quote isn’t necessarily true.

    also, anyone who speaks to a reporter and says, ‘i am gay’ is already openly gay and does not need to say ‘i am openly gay’ – its obvious.

  5. Ray says

    You are a moron, Matt. Wake up and smell the sickening hypocracy and anti-gay vitriol that this administration is cooking up every day. Why don’t you read the following item about the jackass who killed his three-year-old because he was afraid the child was gay…? It’s all because of the awful climate created by Bush, Santorum and the rest of this hateful Republican regime.

  6. says

    Ray: True morons don’t know how to spell “hypocrisy.” So to quote Tuh-RAY-zuh Heinz-Kerry, “Shove it.”

    Glenn: My point is that a credible reporter (I used to be one, and graduated at the top of my class from one of the top J schools in the country) would not leave out an exact quote that should form the entire crux of the story.

    Even if it is just Rob saying “yes” to the question posed, then put it in quotation marks. But he did not do that. It is doubly troubling that Mike would have to paraphrase when he claims to have a tape. The actual direct quotes are FAR less sensational than the headline/paraphrasing implies, which from a pure media critic’s point of view completely blunts the impact of the story.

    If you read the story, it is not about someone on Santorum’s staff admitting to being gay; it is a Santorum staffer defending his boss’s words. You can get that in any newspaper anywhere.

  7. says

    But Matt, why are you arguing details? Aren’t you disturbed by the content? at. all? Seems like a typical Republican response: When actual disturbing content arrives, attack the messenger and start new ‘talking points’.

    Let’s talk instead about the real issue: Why are gay men (like yourself and other Log Cabin types) so willing to throw themselves and their own kind under the bus? That is the topic at hand. Not what this man’s exact quote was.

    How are we ever going to survive this political climate when so many of us don’t seem to think voting for /working for / defending a hate machine or playing right into Conservative hands by portraying progressive focus as “shreiking harpies” (one of your favorite tactics) is any sort of problem?

    Don’t you realize you are voting for and supporting your own demise?

  8. says

    Nathaniel, are you in the voting booth with me? Do you know how I vote, where my money goes, what causes I support or oppose?

    Did you follow my link above to see what I already said about Santorum and his staff days ago?

    Look, I admit that I have a bug up my ass about Mike Rogers. I think he’s reckless and sleazy. I don’t oppose outing 100 percent, but I think it should be reserved for really easy cases like Ed Schrock or Mayor West out in Spokane. That’s my opinion, and I understand completely why others might disagree.

    Then again, I personally know a lot of the people Mike has targeted, which doubtlessly color my views — and I know of many others that he won’t target, because he is, in my opinion, a partisan hack. His tactics would be much easier to understand if they were rational or consistent.

  9. says

    I’m confused. Was this post meant to be about Mike Rogers’ bad reporting or about an out gay-man who supports an anti-gay senator?

  10. says

    I think Mike makes a very good point – the story isn’t that a Senator’s staffer supports his boss – it’s that an “openly gay” staffer supports an anti-gay boss – so having the guy’s actual words strengthens that story. A re-hash of Santorum’s bigoted statements isn’t news – that Santorum has an openly gay staffer who agrees with him is. These guys are scarey – and powerful – what’s the problem with asking a reporter to do a good, detailed job with actual quotes!?

  11. says

    BJ, I don’t know if people keep missing my point, or are just ignoring it, purposely or not:

    The story is about an “out gay man.” Don’t you actually have to SAY you are out to be “out”?

    There is not a single attributed quote or fact in the story backing up the assertion. It would be like writing a story saying “John Doe is a murderer.” What is the basis for that? It should be a quote from John admitting he is a murderer, police being quoted saynig he is a murderer, or a conviction for murder, not just a reporter writing a paragraph asseting baldly that John is a murderer. It’s called “sourcing.”

    What is his basis for writing that??

  12. Mitch says

    I wonder if Robert’s staying on because he hopes, over time, to change his bosses mind? He can’t do that if we run him off.

    If Santorum stays, aren’t we better off if he’s working closely with a gay man?

  13. kelly says

    Mitch, there are those gay repubs that do seek to change the party from the inside (I know a few). And it may be a effective tactic to help some repub lawmakers see the light, but Santorum seems like such a lost cause, no?

    Ever read Dan Savage’s column? He co-opted the word ‘santorum’ to refer to something else….

  14. Joe says

    Hey Matt!
    Here’s a tip. Go back to your own right-wing, reactionary, look-at-me-I’m-a-cool-gay-Republican blog and leave the rest of us alone here so that we can spend our time more productively than read your rants…

  15. says

    Ah, yes, so much for the free exchange of ideas on the Left. Joe: It’s the Internet, idiot. If Andy doesn’t want me here, he can block my comments. If you don’t want to read them, you can skip over me.

    I get VERY tired of hearing liberals say how Bush or the Right is somehow chilling their right to free speech, then a yahoo like you gets on here and tries to squelch any dissent. Deal with it.

  16. says

    I apologize. I take back the word “idiot.” I try very hard not to call people names on comment boards. But as you might understand, being to the right of most people on here (although to the left of most of the country), I face this kind of garbage a lot — i.e., people who merely want to shut people up rather than refute or ignore them — and it gets VERY old.

  17. kelly says

    Well, since no one asked, here’s what Dan Savage came up with:

    san-TOR-um n. A frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex. See also: Sen. Rick Santorum (R – PA).

  18. says

    I’m curious Ray if you also think that the HRC were collaborators when they continued to support Clinton after he signed DADT and DOMA? Or were the gays who voted for Kerry collaborators after his two faced responses on gay rights and his opposition to gay marriage?

    It’s all a matter of degrees isn’t it and for some it’s a lot more about liberal ideology and hatred than it is about rights.

    Kelly, I tend to agree with you. Santorum is a lost cause, but the fact remains, his mind is more likely to be changed by the presence of gays in his life than the absence of them.

  19. says

    Mitch, as I pointed out over on Mike Rogers’ blog, I have worked in Republican offices on Capitol Hill, and I can tell you for a fact that what you say is true: You are more likely to change minds, even if only by slight degrees, if you have gay staffers working in offices that aren’t excessively pro-gay, than the alternative. I could even give you specific, firsthand examples of where policies changed for the better because of gay staff members in Republican offices, including staff members who were hounded out by Mike. (Although I hesitate to do that here.)

    Mike Rogers and his lot are driving those voices out of offices that desperately need them, and I truly wish that the gay community could understand this. While there is a perhaps a temporary satisfaction that some get with this kind of bloodlust, it is genuinely counterproductive in the longer term. I don’t think this makes me an Uncle Tom or an apologist.

    That said, I agree that Santorum is probably too far around the bend to be helped!

  20. Sporty Joe says

    What is the news here? Young Jews willing participated in the Nazi rallies in Nuremberg, too. Yes, this gay man is free to work against his own human rights, just as countless others have done, in the hope that his boss and other conservatives won’t throw him “under the bus” too. I am sure he lunches with Mary Cheney.

  21. says

    I have no doubt that Mary’s presence in her families life has influenced their position on gay marriage. Dick’s against the FMA remember?

  22. sportyjoe says

    Mitch is right in giving Dick credit where it is due. But with the exception of FMA, he does seem to support policies and judicial nominations that are inherently anti-gay.

    As a very close political associate of Karl Rove (and openly gay man) told me, Cheney and Bush use the “gay card” to win elections — now that they don’t have the communist threat. Basically, they are willing to sacrifice the gays to win broader battles.

  23. says

    Dick Cheney is not the President. I seriously doubt there would have been a statement of support for FMA if he were.

  24. says

    RudysDad: You are probably so far to the Left that a political moderate like me LOOKS like a right-winger. I have not had kind things to say about Santorum on my website (at least, not the proper noun version of it).

  25. says

    BTW, rudysdad, I hope you’ve heard of Godwin’s Law: The first one to invoke a Nazi analogy always loses a debate. So congratulations, loser!

  26. Joe Mama says

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  27. sportyjoe says

    Re-reading these recent posts (including my own)remind me of the far-ranging political views within the gay community. I think we need the political voices of both matt and rudysdad, especially with upcoming Supreme Court nominations. Matt, I will take responsibility for the Nazi analogy (fresh on my mind because I recently saw “Truimph of the Will”)because I am truly afraid of the Christian coalition and far-right extreme. These people have little appreciation and respect for the Constitution; instead, they believe in winning at all costs.

  28. rudysdad says

    When he isn’t firing up the fog machine of obfuscation, Matt does a pretty good fan dance, too. Like the great burlesque artistes of yore, he knows how to tease without revealing the goods. Just when it seems like he’s finally going to name one of the many confidential sources he knows, or disclose a piece of insider information which, if only we knew it, would cinch whatever point he’s making, he sidesteps, retreats, reminds us that this is a clean show, not like that thuggish Rogers blog. We have to accept as true his assertion, for example, that there exist unidentified gay staffers who’ve positively influenced the unspecified policies of unnamed Republican office-holders. Well, that may be so, but if so, it’s doubtful that Traynham ranks among those unsung agents of change. He wholeheartedly supports Santorum, even when the Senator utters claptrap like, “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts”. It’s awfully big of lil’ Ricky not to be troubled by a fact of life like homosexuality, isn’t it? Unfortunately, his second statement cancels out his first. If you have a problem with homosexual acts, you have a problem with homosexuality. And a problem with homosexuality is, ultimately, a problem with homosexuals themselves.

    Curiously, the Senator can’t even say for certain if his Communications Director, an eight-year veteran of his staff, shares his opposition to gay marriage, one of Santorum’s signature issues, but he assumes so (correctly) because ” … his (Traynham’s) job … is to represent me … on how I feel about things”. Either Traynham feels the same way as his boss, which makes him a study in pathology, or — a hypocrite and an opportunist — he disagrees but still finds it worth his while to peddle Santorum’s bigotry. The offense, regardless, is rank.

  29. rudysdad says

    Matt, you big silly.
    Two dictionaries consulted at random (American Heritage and the OED) define ‘quisling’ in the sense I meant it, i.e. as a collaborator, a traitor. No Nazi analogy intended, but nice try.

  30. Seth_in_Vermont says

    Matt, just out of curiousity, did you “serve” in the military? (I’m assuming of course that your a U.S. citizen).

  31. mark says

    Hey matt and all my friends here at the towleroad…

    good to hear a moderate on this thread. Let re-cap… Santorum in his quote specifically says…That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.” he is NOT equating homosexuality with bestiality, he is making the point that it is DIFFERENT then pedophilia and bestiality. GRANTED (and its a big grant) Any compare and contrast using homosexuality and bestiality together isn’t cool, you are bound to convey the wrong intent.

    Santorum has done a lot of very good work for the poor in America. he is a hawk on the WOT. Those two points alone trump his “homophobia” in my mind. Especially when i hear that he employs gay staffers. Come on, how homophobic can you be if you hire and work side by side with homosexuals. Similarity, in a recent thread, Andy pointed out that Sean Hannity has men seeking men on his “hannidate” website. Again, i ask, how homophobic can one be if your helping gays hook-up on your site? I am glad to see Santorum out of office, i was know big fan of his, but the only way to have constructive political dialog is to see the nuances in peoples beliefs, respect each others nuances, and work together on a compromise. Calling them all NAZI’s ain’t gonna win over the hearts and minds of the American people.

    Feel free to bash away boys… ad hominem attacks to follow…

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  37. paul c says

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    I’m from Pennsylvania, and the people I have known who supported him in his campaigns were generally loathesome cretins.