2012 Election | Mitt Romney | News

Romney Hires Openly Gay Spokesman Richard Grenell

Mitt Romney has hired Richard A. Grenell, a veteran GOP communications strategist as his national security and foreign policy spokesman. Grenell worked in the Bush White House.

Andrew Sullivan writes: Grenell

He has lived with his partner, Matt Lashey, for the past nine years, and is a frequent advocate for Republicans and gays. Which is why this pick is interesting. For Romney to have an openly gay spokesman is a real outreach to gay Republicans, a subtle signal to moderates, and the Santorum faction's reaction will be worth noting.

MetroWeekly's Chris Geidner offers some backstory:

Grenell served through September 2008 in the Bush administration as a spokesman to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- and told The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld as he left the administration that it was his hope that New York would have marriage equality soon and that he would one day be able to marry his partner, Matt Lashey. The couple has been together 10 years.

Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper, who also served in the Bush administration, tells Metro Weekly that Grenell will be "a tremendous asset" to the Romney campaign.

"Having served with Ric," Cooper says, "I can attest that his experience in the multi-lateral environment of the UN and familiarity with domestic and international media make Ric a strong voice."

And Kren Ocamb sees a shift:

Rachel Maddow called it! Wednesday night she wondered why Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney delivered what was billed as a major talk in North Carolina – and never mentioned the antigay Amendment One on that state’s May 8 ballot. Mark this day, April 18, as the day Romney pivots to appeal to mainstream voters for the general election.

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  1. I'm sorry, but this is window dressing. As Rachel Maddow also mentioned on her superb segment the other night, Mitt Romney has been pushing a virulently anti-gay agenda...he's WAY too cozy with the National Organization for Marriage (including a donation AND signing their vile pledge to push a Federal Marriage Amendment). Romney is against marriage equality, he's against civil unions, he supports DOMA, he would reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell, he donated to Proposition 8 and he has financially supported an "ex-gay" group. Hiring some gay guy doesn't even begin to mitigate any of that.

    Posted by: Terry | Apr 20, 2012 7:06:15 AM

  2. @ Terry: Agreed.

    Also have no idea what kind of gay man would want to work for Bush and then Romney. Certainly this is not someone who represents my interests (which, by the way, go beyond just "being gay").

    Posted by: mike128 | Apr 20, 2012 7:31:59 AM

  3. And considering everything that Terry mentioned, how can this person in his right mind work for Romney? I'm curious to know what his partner thinks of this. It would make me sick to my stomach if I made such a conscious choice.

    Posted by: Greggie | Apr 20, 2012 7:32:13 AM

  4. In other words, I wouldn't care if Romney was "pro-gay". He's still an a-h*le, as a person and a politician.

    Posted by: mike128 | Apr 20, 2012 7:33:09 AM

  5. Romney Playbook:

    1. Appear to be far-right, thereby knocking out all other contenders for nomination.

    2. Once #1 is achieved, give relatively inane speeches for 2 months.

    3. Once the dust settles, go for the moderate middle in an attempt to get as many votes as possible on election day.

    4. If presidency is attained, go back to #1 position and begin creating your dreamworld theocracy with Mormon leanings.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 20, 2012 7:45:31 AM

  6. Wouldn't that be kind of like David Duke hiring a black spokesperson? A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

    Posted by: ah123 | Apr 20, 2012 7:47:08 AM

  7. This is sickening. Richard A. Grenell is certainly no advocate for gay rights if he campaigns for Romney. A man who is not only against marriage equality but who will push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, in other words outlawing marriage equality in all 50 states. I'm with Greggie, how can Grenell in his right mind work for Romney? How can he fight for someone who wants to deprive him and his partner of their basic rights?

    Posted by: Peter M. | Apr 20, 2012 8:02:06 AM

  8. Looking forward to this disingenuous man explaining exactly why a President Romney would send us to war in Iran, and how that and an upper class tax cut is going to bring our economy to its feet.

    Posted by: Adam Sass | Apr 20, 2012 8:10:43 AM

  9. Witness the only thing Romney has done, or will ever do for LGBT Americans. He hired one of them.

    Posted by: Chadd | Apr 20, 2012 8:35:36 AM

  10. I would like to hear what Mr.Grenell and other so called gay republicans have to say before they are eviscerated in our comments form!
    Any chance of a 'Towlerload' can get an interview with Mr.Grenell?
    Just a card carring democrat trying to understand!

    Posted by: VDUFFORD | Apr 20, 2012 9:13:50 AM

  11. F#ck him. He hopes to get married someday but is now working for someone who would make sure that's impossible?

    F#ck him and every other gay republican.

    Posted by: Michael | Apr 20, 2012 9:23:57 AM

  12. Another Quisling.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Apr 20, 2012 9:25:14 AM

  13. one word people: pandering, guess were not supposed to be that smart to figure it out.

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 20, 2012 9:52:26 AM

  14. Well, if he's got all the U.N. experience, and if he's going to be Romney's foreign policy spokesman, the obvious first question -- OK, second question after "so, when do we bomb Tehran?" -- is whether a future Romney administration would continue the aggressive position in favor of gay rights around the world begun by Secty. Clinton and President Obama.

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 20, 2012 9:56:08 AM

  15. Grenell should be commended, not ripped apart. It takes great courage for him to represent Romney (given Romney's stance on homosexuality), and take the eventual criticism from the gay community, who finds his decision to support Romney as hypocritical. Ultimately, while we must acknowledge that the religious right has a heavy influence on the party, it’s vital that gay Republicans like Grenell continue to push back and work aggressively to move the party to a consistent conservative message that the government doesn’t belong in your wallet or in your heart. The path towards achieving equal rights for gays, lesbians and all Americans is working with Republicans as opposed to working against them, to have individuals within the party, like Grenell and Log Cabin Republicans, advocating those issues. Congrats Ric.

    Posted by: thepoliterati | Apr 20, 2012 9:57:09 AM

  16. Mikemick hit the nail on the head, the word of the day is "QUISLING". Just a worthless piece of human garbage.

    Posted by: Akula | Apr 20, 2012 10:00:43 AM

  17. No matter how the apologists at Log Cabin Republicans or Go Proud polish this turd its still someone working for the party that works AGAINST gay rights. That means Grenell is working against gays and himself. Its 100% delusional to think otherwise.

    Posted by: ggreen | Apr 20, 2012 10:10:09 AM

  18. Just another Ken Mehlman in the making, a gay guy only out to preserve his bank account.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Apr 20, 2012 10:17:43 AM

    He doesn't have great courage ....just a brass neck !
    As for the Govt "doesn't belong in your wallet or in your heart".......what about not in our bedrooms ? ....
    And what about DADT,...Romney wants to reinstate it.......and rights for women and equal marriage rights ? He's against all that.
    "The path towards achieving equal rights for gays.... is working with Republicans as opposed to working against them...."
    When I read that sentence i thought you must have taken leave of your senses......have you been following anything at all of the bitter divisive Republican swing to the extreme right ?

    Maybe you believe that another Republican appointee to SCOTUS would help getting a "consistent conservative message " to the American people.
    Everything you say is delusional.
    The path towards equality for gays is fighting the Republicans at every corner of every street in USA.....the path to equality is exposing the virulent hypocrisy of republicans in the Ryan budget, their anti-women agenda, their anti equality agenda, their pro mega-rich agenda and their continued acceptance of the contributions from the leaders of the bigots, the Koch Brothers.
    Exposing the extremism of the NRA/Republican party, all of it, is the consistent message that needs to go out.

    Your post on working with Republicans is so misguided as to be subversive of our struggle for equality.

    Posted by: JackFkTwist | Apr 20, 2012 10:32:39 AM

  20. Gotta love how devaluing the worth of human beings MUST be stopped...until that person is someone who does something you don't like. Then it's OK to call them "garbage" and the like.

    Y'all are so hypocritical that it makes me want to cut of my nose to spite my face and oppose equality just to make you suffer.

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 20, 2012 10:54:39 AM

  21. @THEPOLITERATI Thanks for that analysis, which is largely on target. Most of the people who comment on this site are extremists and purists and most therefore do not have a real-world understanding of how social change occurs. Yes, a movement needs the in-your-face types, but it also needs those who work to change those insitutions that are still resistant to change--and the only way to do that is from within.....by engaging them and building bridges to them rather than by throwing eggs at them.

    If some of these folks were a little more sophisticated, they would step back and realize that if Romney really were a virulent homophobe, there is no way he would appoint an openly gay man to such a prominent positio--he would not even want to be in the presence of an openly gay man. It demonstrates that a lot of his "anti-gay" positioning up to now has only been designed to get the Religious Right off his back during the primaries, who, unfortunately, are still a force in the Republican Party and in society at large.

    At some point, as more gay people engage the Republican Party and as opinions among the rank-and-file change (a recent poll indicated a majority of registered Republicans were in favor of DADT repeal, are in favor of legislation ending job discriminateion, and are in favor of either same-sex marriage or civil unions), the Religious Right will become isolated and will have nowhere to turn in the political mainstream to pursue their homophobic agenda.

    But to appreciate this, you have to not only have a broader perspective than most of these folks have, but also a greater interest in the eradication of homophobia than you do in the interests of the Democratic Party or the Far Left.

    And just for the record, I am not a Republican, myself, and cannot stand Mitt Romney.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 20, 2012 11:07:50 AM

  22. @ RICK :

    putting all of your eggs in the appointment of this guy basket, aren't you ?

    But thanks for you patronizing "analysis".

    Posted by: JackFkTwist | Apr 20, 2012 11:14:10 AM

  23. JUDAS.

    Posted by: Vincent | Apr 20, 2012 11:23:30 AM

  24. Wait, no admonishment to stop being effeminate as the only way to eradicate homophobia? Did RICK's pen run out of ink?

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 20, 2012 11:28:53 AM

  25. It's worth remembering that just because a politician says it (Romney with constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage; and Obama as our 'fierce advocate') doesn't mean it's going to happen.

    Posted by: Donald | Apr 20, 2012 12:16:19 PM

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