Mitt Romney: Prep School Bully and Gay BasherPosted: May 10, 2012 | |
Jason Horowitz has a must-read article about Mitt Romney’s high school days in today’s Washington Post. As I read the piece, I could feel the anger rising in my chest. At the same time, I must say that I wasn’t really surprised to learn that Romney was an obnoxious jerk and bully as a teenager.
The year was 1965, and there was a new kid at the exclusive Cranbook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His name was John Lauber, and Romney took an immediate dislike to him.
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
After that, Lauber “seemed to disappear,” and he did not graduate from the school. Horowitz learn that he died in 2004.
Horowitz got this same story from five of Romney classmates, all of whom were interviewed separately. The four who agreed to be named each remembered the incident clearly and expressed guilt and remorse at their participation or lack of action.
Decades later, in the ’90s, one of the men, David Seed ran into Lauber at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and took the opportunity to apologize.
“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.
Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”
And this wasn’t an isolated incident. Another classmate of Romney’s, Gary Hummel, described Romney yelling “Attagirl!” whenever he tried to speak in class. Romney and his friends also mocked and played pranks on an elderly teacher who had impaired vision.
Is this the “wild and crazy” guy that Ann Romney claims is hiding inside her stiff, robotic husband? If so, I hope he stays bottled up.
And guess what? Romney claims to have no memories of any of these incidents! His campaign scrambled to respond to the Horowitz article this morning, and Romney “apologized” on an Oklahoma radio show with the now common “if I offended anyone…” routine:
“Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney said in a live radio interview with Fox News Channel personality Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.”
On the attack on Lauber, Romney claimed:
“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”
Really? I was born the same year as Romney, 1947, and I also graduated from high school in 1965. I clearly recall fellow students using the words “queer,” “homo,” and “fag,” to mock and bully classmates from junior high onward. Actually, I think most were over that by later in high school. Obviously Romney was not, and IMO he still acts like bully with his blatant lies and vicious negative attacks on his political opponents. I can only imagine what he must have been like as boss.
On Gary Hummel’s claim that Romney made fun of him by shouting “Attaboy!” at him in class, Romney also couldn’t remember doing it, but he had more meaningless excuses:
“As this person indicated, he was closeted,” Romney said. “I had no idea that he was gay and can’t speak to that even today. But as to the teasing or the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago. For me, that’s about 48 years ago. Again, if there’s anything I said that is offensive to someone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry for that.”
I don’t know what else to say other than this just makes me sick to my stomach. I didn’t care for bullies back when I was in junior high and high school, and I like them even less now.