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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McCarthy Unleashes QAnon Dogwhistle and Spins Wild Conspiracy Theories in Rambling ‘Country in Crisis’ Presser
Embattled House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went all-in for QAnon Thursday in his wide-ranging, rambling conspiracy theory-laden press conference in which he called the January 6 insurrection an “altercation” but referred to the Black Lives Matter protests as “riots.”
Standing at a podium with a sign declaring “Country in Crisis,” McCarthy attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, blaming her for the lack of Capitol Police on January 6 and the mask mandate.
“If you are vaccinated and you get the variant, there’s .003% you’d go to the hospital,” McCarthy said – not as a means to urge vaccination, but as a means to oppose the House mask mandate. (NCRM has not verified that claim.)
“There’s a greater chance you’d got hit by lighting,” McCarthy said. He then took a long pause, and then declared, “But for some reason, Pelosi thinks the storm is coming.”
That phrase, “the storm is coming,” is widely documented as one used by delivers in the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory movement.
If I was Kevin McCarthy I would simply not use QAnon dogwhistles during press conferences pic.twitter.com/pnhopk4s7t
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 29, 2021
“We’ve watched Speaker Pelosi politicize medicine. Just as she’s doing right now,” he said of the mask mandate which is based on new CDC guidance. “We’ve watched the Sergeant of Arms have to pass a note to the Speaker during the altercations on January 6 of whether to call the National Guard.”
“We’ve watched Speaker Pelosi say during the riots of the summer, the disgust she had seeing the National Guard protecting the Lincoln Memorial. So yes, It’s fundamentally different.”
‘Do You Believe in God?’ GOP Senator Applies Religious Test to Biden Nominee
U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) on Wednesday decided to impose a possibly unconstitutional religious test for a Biden Dept. of Justice nominee, asking attorney Hampton Dellinger, “Do you believe in God?”
It was a stunning moment, one that the 69-year old Senator from Louisiana, who earned his law degree at the University of Virginia and studied law at Oxford did not even appear to understand, despite the U.S. Constitution explicitly stating: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Hampton Dellinger, as The National law Journal reported, was appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, before Republicans who bristled at his nomination to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy.
Sen. Kennedy took particular offense at one of Dellinger’s tweets, which correctly notes that if there were no Republican men in elected office, there would be no bans on abortion.
Yes, there are some women GOPers and a tiny # of Dems who want government not women to control women’s bodies. But if there were no Republican men in elected office, there would be no abortion bans.
— Hampton Dellinger (@HampDellinger) May 18, 2019
Kennedy made a big show of the tweet, nearly bullying Dellinger with it, demanding to know if he wrote it, then declaring, paper in hand, “Here it is, bigger than Dallas.”
That’s when Kennedy invoked God.
“Do you believe in God?” the Republican Senator asked through his slow Southern drawl, one refined for the cable news channel audiences.
“Senator,” Dellinger respectfully responded, “I have faith.”
“Do you think that my votes with respect to abortion are based on the fact that I want to control women?” Kennedy pummeled.
“Senator, I cannot speak to that,” Dellinger respectfully replied.
“Why did you say it in front of God and country”” Kennedy berated. “Did it ever occur to you that some people may base their position on abortion on their faith?”
Somewhat taken aback, Dellinger replied, “I sincerely appreciate that people have a different position on abortion than I do.”
“I do believe that the reproductive rights established in Roe vs. Wade, and then then dealt with in Casey, June Medical, and other Supreme Court decisions are important,” he added.
He also tried to defend himself, saying: “I recognize the difference between someone saying something inartfully as a private citizen and working as a lawyer, and I think I’ve got a 30-year track record of being open-minded.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who highlighted the exchange on social media, observed: “Can you imagine the reaction on the right if a Democratic senator posed that question to literally any Republican nominee?”
He also reminded that Senator Josh Hawley had “claimed that merely asking Amy Coney Barrett about Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark decision establishing a constitution right to contraception, constituted ‘religious bigotry’ against Catholics.”
The GOP position appears to be: Democrats aren’t allowed to ask Republican nominees any question that might tangentially relate to religion, even if the nominee has said their religion informs their views. But Republicans can impose a religious test on Democratic nominees.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 29, 2021
Here’s Republican Sen. John Kennedy imposing a religious test on Hampton Dellinger, a Biden nominee to the Justice Department. “Do you believe in God?” pic.twitter.com/Q9Mk3OpsRY
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 29, 2021
‘You Sound Like an Idiot’: CNN’s Chris Cuomo Blasts Anti-Vax Restaurant Owner to His Face in Tense Interview
CNN host Chris Cuomo got into a tense exchange on Wednesday with a California restaurant owner who is requiring customers to show proof that they are unvaccinated before entering.
Tony Roman, the owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, told Cuomo that he was dead serious about making sure no vaccinated people ate at his restaurant because he thought getting vaccinated is a sign of low intelligence.
“It’s an IQ test,” he said. “Like I say to people when they ask me, if they’re so blinded with their rage and their hate, I tell them, you know what, if you don’t understand it, maybe we should put up a sign that says you’re too stupid to come into the restaurant.”
This made no sense to Cuomo, who asked Roman if he was vaccinated. Roman responded by demanding Cuomo give his vaccination status first, to which Cuomo replied that he and his family were vaccinated.
“You’re failing the IQ test,” Roman replied, before then saying that barring vaccinated people from eating at his restaurant was not intended to be an anti-vaccine statement.
At the end of the interview, a frustrated Cuomo bluntly told Roman that “honestly, you sound like an idiot.”
Watch the video below.
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