HRC Blog

Former Romney Spokesperson “Instructed to Shut Up” Prior to Resignation

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

New reports surrounding the resignation of Romney gay spokesman Richard Grennell indicate the campaign official was increasingly isolated as the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer launched an assault on the staffer. According to a new report in the Huffington Post, Grennell even was instructed to “shut up” prior to a recent conference call with reporters on foreign policy – the specific topic he was hired to speak about.

Regarding the very personal attacks on Grennell, the campaign reportedly told him to "be quiet and not to speak up until it went away.”

Grennell was under seemingly constant attack – on a recent CNN appearance, Fischer blasted the Romney campaign for hiring a “homosexual.” The Romney campaign offered tepid support for Grennell, primarily issuing prepared statements to reporters who requested comment.

The campaign put Grennell in the backseat at a time when Romney was particularly vocal about President Obama’s Afghanistan foreign policy and the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. His absence was noticeable to many – including those in the GOP. Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer commented:

“Why wasn’t Rick the spokesman in the last couple of days, when foreign policy was paramount? That’s the piece I don’t understand….I don’t know why he wasn’t the spokesman on foreign policy for the last several days. It’s something that nobody understands.”

The reason is simple: time and again, Romney is driven by the whims of the extremist, anti-gay far right. Grennell’s isolation within the campaign – and his eventual resignation – should raise red flags for how LGBT people will (or won't) be welcomed in a Romney administration, and about who will have the most influence over a President Romney.

Learn more about Romney's poor - and often confusing - track record on LGBT issues at

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