WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney's national security spokesman resigned Tuesday after critics questioned his conservatism because he is gay.
Richard Grenell announced he had decided to leave Romney's campaign shortly after he was hired in late April. Grenell, who is openly gay, previously worked for neoconservative former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, as well as other foreign policy hawks.
"My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyperpartisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign," Grenell said in a prepared statement.
Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said the campaign was disappointed with Grenell's decision, saying he "had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill."
While the presidential campaign has centered on foreign policy in recent days, Grenell was not speaking on the record on behalf of the Romney campaign during that time. Vice President Joe Biden made a major address in New York, and the Obama campaign has been marking the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.
A series of critics on the right had suggested Grenell's sexuality would present problems for the Romney campaign. Romney has struggled to court the religious wing of the Republican Party as he sought the nomination, having previously changed his position on social issues like abortion.