Who is Richard Grenell?
Mitt Romney’s new foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, is causing a bit of a stir.
Over the weekend, media reports noted the newly-hired Grenell’s many inflammatory tweets offering very blunt takes on taboo political issues like Newt Gingrich’s multiple marriages, comparing MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to Justin Bieber, commenting on the appearance of various women including Hillary Clinton and Cindy McCain, and berating the media.
In addition, Grenell’s hire has drawn the ire
of some in the social conservative movement because he is openly gay (though the resistance has yet to hit the mainstream of the social conservative movement in any significant way).
So just who is this newly relevant political hand?
Grenell is perhaps best known for being George W. Bush’s top spokesman at the United Nations, serving under Ambassadors John Negroponte, John Danforth, John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad.
He has also served as a spokesman for former San Diego mayor Susan Golding, former New York governor George Pataki, then-congressmen Mark Sanford (later known as the “Appalachian Trail”-hiking governor of South Carolina ), and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.). He also worked for Gingrich and the George H.W. Bush reelection campaign in the early 1990s.
Grenell, as evidenced by the Twitter controversy, has earned a reputation as a polarizing figure in the world of the press.
The liberal Village Voice in 2003 detailed complaints about Grenell — anonymous ones, albeit — from the press covering the U.N. accusing him of being overbearing.
But even in that report, at least one journalist defended Grenell as a skilled communicator just doing his job.
“I recognize that he is a master of spin,” said Raghida Dergham, the U.N. correspondent for the Arab newspaper Al Hayat. “But I find him accessible, knowledgeable, and never condescending. We
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