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Post Partisan
Posted at 01:35 PM ET, 04/24/2012

Richard Grenell chose power over principle on marriage equality


Richard Grenell is an acerbic personality. Last month, he took me to task for going to the White House state dinner for the British prime minister and not pressing President Obama on his position on same-sex marriage. First, he did so over Twitter. Then, he took his finger-wagging to the pages of the gay newspaper the Washington Blade. But now that the openly gay Grenell is the new foreign policy and national security spokesman for Mitt Romney, I wonder if he has lived up to his own ideals.

As a condition of accepting the high-powered post, did Grenell get assurances from Romney, who has been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage, that he would support marriage equality? Would Romney do so publicly — before the election? If Grenell neither was given nor sought such assurances, why would a man of such self-proclaimed principle take the job?

Grenell’s first tweet came in around 9:05 a.m. on March 15, the morning after the state dinner. I wish I could tell you exactly what it said, but I can’t. Most of his Tweets to me were among those he deleted after his appointment on April 19 in an effort to scrub his Twitter feed of problematic postings. But the gist of what he said was summed up in a Tweet at 9:31 a.m.

@CapehartJ im an activist looking to make sure you and i get equal protection from the liberal media. i out hypocrites. 9:31 AM - 15 Mar 12
@RichardGrenell You’re barking up the wrong tree, fella. So aim your fire elsewhere. 9:32 AM - 15 Mar 12

In an earlier Tweet, I asked Grenell, a former spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and then an alternative representative to the Security Council under President George W. Bush, “What happened to all that diplomatic exp at the US Mission to the UN? We used to be able to agree to disagree ... now this[.]” Around 9:33 a.m. came his reply, which I retweeted with a terse response.

RT @RichardGrenell: @CapehartJ good diplomats speak clearly. they aren’t wimps.//Well let me be clear: Have a nice day. 9:33 AM - 15 Mar 12

Grenell wouldn’t let the issue go, still pressing me on not pressing the president.

@CapehartJ i’ll take that as a sign that you didn’t stand up to power but sipped wine instead....#MissedOpportunity

Grenell would continue his takedown the next day in the Washington Blade.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart is so easy. If only President Obama had known sooner that a simple dinner invitation for Jonathan meant that he wouldn’t have to deliver changes for gays and lesbians throughout the country. We’re all good now that the president invited Jonathan and his friends over for dinner. After all, the sins of bad public positions can be erased with private niceties, right?

Grumpy Grenell wasn’t there, so he didn’t know about the unprecedented number of legally married same-sex couples greeting British Prime Minister David Cameron. And he certainly didn’t know about the guest who did exactly what Grenell thought didn’t happen — because I was not at liberty to tell anyone at the time.

In that Blade piece, Grenell lauds fellow Republicans who are to the left of Obama on marriage equality. “If gays are going to win support for their political issues, they better start playing smarter politics,” he wrote. “It would be news to most gays that John Bolton, Laura Bush, Cindy McCain and Dick Cheney all disagree with President Obama and support marriage equality.”

The one name Grenell didn’t list is Romney. A man who is against marriage equality. A man who has pledged to support a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A man who would defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in court. And a man who would allow the right to marry in the District of Columbia to be taken away by popular vote. This is who the high-minded Grenell now works for.

Grenell didn’t stand up to power. He opted for power itself for himself instead. Now we know why he is so eager to “out hypocrites.” He knows of what he speaks.

By  |  01:35 PM ET, 04/24/2012

Tags:  Election 2012

 
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