The resignation of Mitt Romney's foreign-policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, on Tuesday has led to a weeklong controversy for the campaign of the Republican Party's 2012 presumptive presidential nominee, who first caught flak from the right for hiring an openly gay staffer and now is being hit from the left because of what many perceive as the campaign's firing of Grenell.
In an interview with Fox News on Friday, however, Romney said his campaign hires people not based upon their ethnicity, or their sexual preference, or their gender, but upon their capability, according to the Associated Press. He praised his erstwhile foreign-policy spokesman as a capable individual and said senior campaign advisers had tried to convince Grenell not to leave the campaign.
Grenell resigned on Tuesday, telling the Washington Post, While I welcomed the challenge to confront President [Barack] Obama's foreign-policy failure and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyperpartisan discussion on personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.
Grenell also told the Post, I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a nonissue for him and his team.
Beyond his sexual orientation, however, Grenell's prolific -- and, according to some, inappropriate -- use of Twitter raised issues for many. Politico reported on a number of missives that Grenell launched against the Gingriches, including attacks on Callista Gingrich's appearance (Do you think Callista's hair snaps on?) and Newt Gingrich's infamous infidelity (Newt: My 1st Lady knows what it's like to be 2nd and 3rd ... ).
Perhaps Grenell's most notorious tweets, though, took aim at liberal MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow's appearance. In one tweet, he compared her hair to Justin Bieber's; in another, he said she needs to take a breath and put on a necklace, which led the feminist blog Jezebel to accuse him of being sexist.
Even political reporters saw Grenell as a potential liability to the Romney campaign, with BuzzFeed star political reporter Andrew Kaczynski tweeting after Grenell's resignation, Any reporter trolled by Grenell on Twitter could see problems for Romney camp a mile ahead when they hired him.