- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
When Mitt Romney’s campaign announced on Thursday that the Republican presidential candidate had hired Richard Grenell, a former Bush administration spokesman at the United Nations, as his foreign policy and national security spokesman, early reports focused on the fact that Grenell is openly gay.
But this afternoon, Politico highlighted another side of Grenell: The man is a prolific tweeter — one who dishes out zingers to those who get on his bad side, whether they be Newt Gingrich ("what’s higher? The number of jobs newt’s created or the number of wives he’s had?"), Callista Gingrich ("do you think callista’s hair snaps on?"), or Rick Santorum ("im rick santorum and gay people should be deported").
As tends to happen in today’s compressed news cycle, Grenell has already apologized for "any hurt" his tweets caused, telling Politico that they were meant to be "tongue-in-cheek and humorous" and that he’ll remove them from Twitter.
But Grenell hasn’t deleted all his scathing comments, many of them related to foreign policy. Here are some of the issues that provoke his anger again and again (as you’ll see, there’s a lot of overlap). Now that Grenell is Romney’s spokesman, we’ll probably be hearing these critiques of the Obama administration’s foreign policy more and more in the months ahead.
- U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice: "can someone at the StateDepartment tell SusanRice that SHE’S the US Ambassador to the UN.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "secretary of state hillary clinton speaks more clearly about finding amelia earhart’s plane than the sudan crisis.
- Obama’s open mic gaffe about needing flexibility on missile defense: "I’m waiting for Obama to whisper to Mexico’s leader ‘i need flexibility on the illegal thing til after November’"
- Obama administration’s response to Syria: "why is SusanRice the only American left holding out for
#Assad to ‘seize the moment’. he’s seized 9 thousand moments so far!"
- Obama administration’s response to Iran: "SusanRice’s tenure in short: no action on Syria’s violence, trips to DC, nothing on Iran in 22 months, more trips to DC, lots of tweets"
- Media bias: "day 6 and still no tweet from Andrea @Mitchellreports on Obama’s secret whisper requests for ‘flexibility’ from Russian president
#oops" (Yes, there were previous updates.)
But come on, people. Today’s episode is about more than what Grenell thinks of Callista’s hair or Newt’s marriage life (or, for that matter, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt’s eyebrows — another deleted tweet not mentioned by Politico).
No, the real question is: Why haven’t politicos learned by now that you scrub your Twitter feed of all controversial content before you enter the political limelight?