Back in 1964, a Republican Governor named George Romney performed an act of rare political courage. As party delegates convened in San Francisco to coronate Senator Barry Goldwater as their presidential nominee, Romney noted Goldwater's opposition to civil rights legislation and announced that because "his [Goldwater's] views deviate as indicated from the heritage of our Party, I will do everything within my power to keep him from becoming the Party's next candidate." Despite the vicious racism of the extreme right-wing (which had taken over the GOP through Goldwater's candidacy), Romney stood by his vow, even willfully incurring their wrath by refusing to endorse Goldwater.
First he failed in his handling of Richard Grenell, a conservative* foreign policy expert who resigned from the Romney campaign after homophobic backlash to his sexual orientation made it impossible for him to do his job. The controversy was not based on any complaint about Grenell's beliefs or credentials (given that he had spent seven years under President George W. Bush as head of the American mission's communications department in the United Nations), but instead on the fact that elements of the Christian Right did not feel comfortable with an open homosexual serving in such an influential Republican post. As Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote on Twitter, "Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead." Romney responded to this by limiting the extent of Grenell's involvement with his campaign, eventually compelling him to resign due to how his "ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues."
Editor's Note: We replaced the word "conservative" from its original version (neoconservative), after Richard Grenell took issue that characterization of his views.