By MAGGIE HABERMAN | Politico.com
Gary Johnson formally became the Libertarian nominee for president earlier today at the party’s Las Vegas convention – and promptly dinged the GOP, the party he was running for part of last year, for the criticism from Christian conservatives over Mitt Romney’s hiring of Richard Grenell, via Rosie Gray:
“I believe the majority of americans are fiscally responsible and socially tolerant,” Johnson told BuzzFeed in a phone interview. “I believe the majority of Americans could care less about whether or not there is a gay individual working in the Romney campaign.” Romney’s newly hired foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell was openly gay, a fact that raised the ire of social conservatives, whose reaction resulted in Grenell’s leaving the campaign.
“It speaks volumes to the intolerance that continues to be present in the Republican Party,” Johnson said. He said he doesn’t attach that intolerance to the majority of Republicans but to “the activists driving that agenda.”
“That intolerance is why the world vilifies Republicans,” Johnson continued. “Itâ€™s why I have never worn a Republican t-shirt in my life. There is a certain Republican dogma I just cannot defend. Homophobia is one of those issues.”
Romney’s campaign, according to multiple sources, urged Grenell to stay in a string of phone calls from top advisers within and outside its Boston headquarters. As Gray notes, they knew he was gay when he was brought on, and have said the complaints from a handful of evangelical figures did not impact them at all.
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