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Romney's Cowardly Response to Grenell Resignation Avoids Confrontation with Anti-LGBT Religious Right

 
 
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 Mitt Romney spoke out about the resignation of ex-foreign policy adviser Richard Grenell during an appearance on Fox News this morning. In doing so, the former Massachusetts governor failed to condemn the homophobia that helped convince the openly-gay foreign policy expert to leave the campaign less than two weeks after he first joined it. “We wanted him to stay with our team, he is a very accomplished spokesperson,” Romney said, before himself dabbling in the kind of anti-gay rhetoric that suggests that gay people can change: 

ROMNEY: We select 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 and I wish him the very best.

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Romney’s remarks represent the campaign’s failure to actively take on the social conservative wing of the Republican party on equality issues. Rather than publicly defend Grenell from groups who labeled him a “homosexual activist,” the candidate instead chose to muzzle his foreign policy spokesperson, asking him to remain silent on a recent conference call.

As one Republican told the New York Times, “It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay. They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.” Romney’s response to Grenell’s resignation demonstrates that he himself also fears alienating these extreme elements.

Think Progress / By Igor Volsky | Sourced from

Posted at May 4, 2012, 5:01am