Grenell Breaks Silence on his Decision to Quit Romney Team

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 01:42 PM

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Mitt Romney's former national security aide Richard Grenell has broken his silence after quitting the GOP candidate's campaign after his homosexuality became an issue.

And he said gay conservatives are under assault from both sides of the political spectrum, as the far left does not believe gays should be conservative while those on the far right simply don't like their sexual orientation.

Grenell, who quit after conservatives claimed Romney should not have a gay man among his closest advisers, said “the claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is not only bigoted but is a bipartisan view.

"The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans," he wrote in the Wall Stree Journal.

"When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers.”

And during an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, Grenell said he finds intolerance on both sides of the political equation and finds it ironic that the left says you can't be gay and conservative.

"There are people on the far right that don’t like the fact that I'm gay, and there are people on the far left that don't like the fact that I’m a conservative. I’m comfortably in the middle," he said.

"I know who I am and I think a lot of Americans are just like me in that they have a lot of multiple views and they go into the voting booth and they vote according to multidimensional views.”

Grenell, who grew up in an evangelical Christian home and attended an undergraduate evangelical Christian university, said in the Journal that he knows firsthand that “many Christian conservatives and evangelicals applaud the partisan activism of gay conservatives and recognize that people have different strengths and opinions."

He said Romney is the better choice for “Americans who agree on the principles of self-reliance, capitalism, unapologetic U.S. global leadership and a government designed to do what the private sector can't or won't do.”

But, like many voters, Grenell said he may not agree with every position a candidate takes. Though he supports Romney, he said he is “proud" of President Barack Obama’s personal support for gay marriage, while opposing the president on other issues such as national security and the economy.

In the Fox News, Grenell told Martha MacCallum, “There were many people on the left and the right that really wanted to keep me in a one dimensional box and have me just talk about being gay, or my position on gay marriage. I think it's ludicrous.

"I’m like most Americans, in that I have multiple views and we don’t always agree with the candidate that we support or work for on every single issue. I don't think that that should be news.

"So for me, I became a distraction, a distraction for the issues that I most care about, national security, foreign policy.”

Grenell resigned on May 1, saying his “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.”

He thanked Romney for believing in him and said his homsexuality was a non-issue for Romney.

Romney told Fox in the wake of Grenell’s resignation that his campaign selects people “not based upon their ethnicity or their sexual preference or their gender but upon their capability.

"He was a capable individual. We’re sorry to have him go and actually a whole series of the senior people on my team and my supporters called him and encouraged him to stay. But he expressed a desire to move on.”

In the Journal, Grenell said he received support from Republicans for his appointment who said they were “disappointed by the events that led to my resignation."

"Some did so while admitting they disagreed with my support for gay marriage. But they too are passionate about a strong America, personal responsibility and independent religious institutions — issues that should be at the forefront of this year's presidential election.”


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