Remember Richard Grenell made headlines earlier this year after he resigned as the openly gay national security spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign? The rumor at the time was that Grenell had been forced out of the campaign after conservative groups complained. But now, Grenell admits that while he wasn't forced out, the real backlash of being an aide to Romney came from the liberal left, not the conservative right:
"The far left doesn't want a gay person to be conservative and the far right doesn't want a conservative to be gay. Some of the most hateful, mean-spirited intolerant comments about me being the foreign policy and national security spokesman for Governor Romney … were coming from the left," Grenell recently told Palm Springs' Desert Sun. The conservative right, however, was more vocal in praising his resignation, including the American Family Association who called it a "huge win for us."
Having been an openly-gay Republican spokesman for decades, Grenell says he wasn't surprised by the backlash: "The right I'm very comfortable with, taking those hits and barbs, because I've had a 20-year career where I've worked for politicians, I've worked on elections, on campaigns, and I know exactly the trajectory of the assaults from the far right."
But if he wasn't forced out as many speculated, why did he step down?
"They did not force me to resign. I resigned because I'm very passionate about foreign policy and national security issues," he says." But, "When the messenger becomes part of the message — if you really care about these issues — you should step aside."