Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney’s gay spokesperson who resigned hours ago after pressure from conservatives, actually resigned because of Bryan Fischer, according to Bryan Fischer, whoÂ today on his radio program took credit for leading the charge that resulted in Grenell’s resignation. Fischer, who has said that gays are “Nazis,” called Grenell’s resignation “a huge win” because the Fischer-led group of anti-gay conservatives, the religious right, and anti-gay so-called “family” groups, were able to get Grenell to quit and taught the Romney campaign a lesson.
“Mitt Romney has been forced to say, look, I overstepped my bounds here, I went outside the parameters here, I went off the reservation with this hire,” Fischer said, adding that “Mitt Romney’s not going to admit that.”
And there he does have a point.
There are those that are claiming the Romney camp is trying to use the resignation as an effort to not appear anti-gay, which is ludicrous on its face, albeit they did hire Grenell in the first place.
Molly Ball at The Atlantic offers this excellent report:
To the activists who had cheered Grenell’s hiring — he was apparently the first-ever openly gay spokesman for a Republican presidential campaign — the news came as a blow.
“It is unfortunate that while the Romney campaign made it clear that Grenell being an openly gay man was a non-issue for the governor and his team, the hyper-partisan discussion of issues unrelated to Ric’s national security qualifications threatened to compromise his effectiveness on the campaign trail,” said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, who served alongside Grenell at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. “Ric was essentially hounded by the cacophony of the far-right and left,” Cooper added.
Added Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud: “The bottom line is it’s a sad day in America when the best and brightest are unable to do their jobs because a small fringe is so fascinated with their personal lives. Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins and the anti-gay-for-pay crowd seem more interested in making sure people can’t work in this country than our country’s national security interests.”
These activists were reluctant to pin blame on the Romney campaign for giving in to the anti-gay backlash, and the Romney campaign was clearly seeking to avoid the impression that it caved to pressure and pushed Grenell out because of his sexual orientation. Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, said in a statement: “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”
More than one Republican insider I spoke to wondered if Grenell, who had also drawn controversy for his off-message tweeting and combative persona, hadn’t instead turned out to be a poor fit for the tightly disciplined, personality-averse Romney operation. If that’s the case, Grenell’s attempt to point the finger at voices of intolerance within the GOP may be a self-serving excuse.
Whether or not that’s the case, though, the episode stands to hurt Romney by making him appear captive to the most extreme elements of the Republican base. That was the immediate response from the left to Grenell’s resignation: “If Romney will cave to the far-right fringe on this, is there anything he won’t give them when they ask?” said Michael Keegan, president of the liberal group People For the American Way. Teddy Goff, the digital director for the Obama campaign, tweeted: “Today we learned that in the year 2012, a Republican nominee for President can’t have a gay person as spokesman.”
When I originally reported on Grenell’s hiring, Michelangelo Signorile, the gay activist and journalist, told me he didn’t think the move would help Romney any among gay voters, who would be more concerned with the candidate’s stances on policies important to them. But, he noted, it would be a signal to many non-gay moderates that Romney, on some level, shared their values of tolerance and inclusion. Now, deservedly or not, Romney has sent the opposite message: that he’s unable to stand up to the voices of intolerance within the Republican Party.
Fischer called Grinell a “homosexual activist” despite the fact that Grinell has not seemingly raised a finger to support civil rights for the LGBT community.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement today in response to the resignation of Richard Grennell, Mitt Romneyâ€™s openly gay spokesman:
From the moment Richard Grennell signed on as Mitt Romneyâ€™s Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman, he faced a torrent of unfounded criticism from the far right. Not once did the Romney campaign condemn these attacks and support Grennell.
Mitt Romney capitulating to the demands of extremist anti-gay groups is nothing new. He has donated to the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and the Massachusetts Family Institute. He has even signed a NOM vow that binds him to appoint only anti-gay judges and establish a McCarthy-era commission to investigate the activities of those who support LGBT equality. The fact that Grennell is gone so quickly after a right-wing uproar is a troubling harbinger of the kind of power that anti-gay forces would have in a Romney White House.
Bryan Fischer and the voices of hate: 1. Reason, equality and American values: 0.
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Stefanik Was Once ‘Laser Focused on Electing Santos’ – Now She Blames Voters for Electing Him as She Backs Away
One of the most powerful Republicans in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), used her reputation and geographic proximity to help get fellow New York Republican George Santos elected to Congress. But now, as her donors and his express anger at being misled and lied to, and ahead of what appears to be a likely federal investigation and possible prosecution against the freshman GOP lawmaker, Stefanik is blaming voters for electing him to Congress: “Ultimately voters make this decision,” she said Tuesday.
Stefanik is the Chair of the House Republican Conference, a role she was first elected to when the now former Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, was thrown out of GOP leadership for telling the truth about the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump. Stefanik was re-elected to her role after the November election.
Amid Santos announcing on Tuesday he is temporarily recusing himself from the two committees he was appointed to, Stefanik was asked if she regretted supporting his candidacy.
Indeed, one of the top reasons Santos was elected was Stefanik’s endorsement – and all the donor money that came with it.
“Stefanik’s team was laser focused on electing Santos to Congress – more than just about any other race in the country,” a senior Republican strategist involved in campaigns before the midterms told CNN. “Another donor, who attended a fundraising luncheon with Stefanik and Santos, confirmed to CNN through a representative that ‘he donated to George Santos because of Elise Stefanik’s endorsement.'”
It wasn’t just her endorsements. It appears Stefanik took great interest in getting Santos elected. CNN also reported that a source “said that a top political aide for Stefanik was involved in campaigning for Santos. Multiple sources told CNN that aide was closely advising Santos’ campaign and involved in hiring people.”
Stefanik’s spokesperson denied the allegations.
In July, Santos tweeted that Stefanik “has been one of my strongest backers and closest friends. I fully stand with her vote today as she stood up for civil rights. I look forward to serving alongside her when I’m elected to Congress in November.”
In fact, this was the banner atop Santos’ Twitter account for a very long time, up until recently:
Here is Stefanik tweeting her “major announcement” – her endorsement of Santos – on August 11, 2001, more than a year before Election Day.
“Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03. @Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support!”
🚨🚨 MAJOR ENDORSEMENT ALERT 🚨🚨
Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03.@Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/vGTnWW1ROY
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) August 11, 2021
And in May of last year: “WOW! Great lunch event for @Santos4Congress! We raised over $100,000 to help George FLIP #NY03 George has my complete and total endorsement and come November, New Yorkers will send George to Congress! #SaveNewYork #SaveAmerica”
WOW! Great lunch event for @Santos4Congress!
We raised over $100,000 to help George FLIP #NY03 🔵➡️🔴
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 23, 2022
She literally told voters that electing George Santos to Congress will “Save New York” and “Save America.”
On Tuesday, Stefanik told voters something very different: it’s their fault they voted for him, she said, taking no responsibility for her endorsements.
“Like all of my colleagues, particularly in New York State, I supported George Santos as the nominee, and the people of his district voted to elect him,” she told reporters – not once mentioning there was no Republican primary and Santos automatically became the Republican party’s nominee.
“Ultimately voters make this decision about who they elect to Congress,” Stefanik declared, wholly removing herself, her endorsements, and any possible assistance she or her campaign may have given to Santos or his campaign.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 31, 2023
See the tweets and video above or at this link.
Santos Recuses Himself From Committees Amid Possible Criminal Investigation
Embattled freshman U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), in what is the first time he has taken any steps to acknowledge the depths of political and now possibly criminal challenges he faces, says he will recuse himself from his committee assignments until his ethics issues have been resolved.
Santos also told his Republican colleagues of his plans on Tuesday, NBC News reports. Santos is on the Science and Small Business committees.
The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, who has provided extensive reporting on the Republican frequently called a “serial liar,” adds that the Santos’ announcement came after a meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“With all signs pointing to an active federal criminal investigation into his campaign finance activity, Santos has ‘voluntarily’ declined—after meeting last night with Kevin McCarthy—to stay off of committees, as Republicans try to sideline Ilhan Omar,” Sollenberger reports.
Sollenberger broke the news that Santos, or his campaign, amended his FEC filing to indicate $625,000 in “personal” loans to his campaign were not actually from his personal funds.
Republicans are trying to keep U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of their regular, prime targets, from taking her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Speaker McCarthy has already blocked Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, invoking his ability to do so because it is a Select committee and subject to the Speaker’s decisions.
MSNBC reported the breaking news on-air. Watch below or at this link.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 31, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
2024 Fundraising Fail: Trump Took in Less Money After Declaring Run for President Than Before
Donald Trump, the candidate who in 2015 vowed he would self-fund his presidential campaign, only to turn his White House run into a never-ending fundraising operation, is having trouble raising money.
“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Trump said when he launched his campaign in June of 2015 – despite quietly accepting over $14 million in the months after.
The ex-president, under numerous criminal investigations and facing civil court cases, now is “strapped for campaign cash,” NBC News reveals in an exclusive report. The embattled and disgraced one-term president who remains his party’s top choice, took in less money in the six weeks after he officially launched his third attempt to enter the Oval Office than he did in the six weeks before his mid-November announcement.
Trump is now revamping his fundraising machine and hiring a new company, Campaign Inbox, “to solicit the small-dollar donor set.”
The former president had built a massive fundraising database but decided to launch in November, which puzzled many experts. Some believe he did so in an attempt to evade any possible Dept. of Justice prosecutions. Even as far back as July those who know Trump predicted he would not only run for president again but launch his campaign early – to try to escape justice.
All this points to Trump returning to Facebook, if only to revive his “cash-strapped” campaign.
“Almost 50% of Republican donors log in to Facebook every single day,”Republican digital fundraising consultant Eric Wilson told NBC News, citing data from a survey connected to a nonprofit group he runs. “So if you are not able to reach those donors, you’re just at a huge fundraising disadvantage.”
Image: Shirley Preston/Shutterstock
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