The Washington Post dropped a bomb today revealing a very ugly story from Mitt Romney’s childhood corroborated by five independent witnesses, including former close friends of Romney who participated in what I would call an assault.
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.
If something like this happened today, the punishment would be severe. I dare say this could even be classified as a hate-crime if the student was indeed assaulted because of his perceived homosexuality. Of course in 1965 there were no such laws.
As Charles Pierce of Esquire recalls, Romney’s reputation for being a bully extended well into his adult life, including during his tenure as Governor.
While governor, he sold out various friends and allies at the drop of a hat. He appointed a guy named William Monahan to be the head of the state’s Civil Service Commission and then fired him in a 13-minute phone call after a Globe story revealed that Monahan had purchased a piece of property two decades earlier from some purported organized-crime figures, a story that can’t have caught anyone by surprise, since a local paper in Monahan’s hometown had revealed it 10 years earlier. In the years since, Monahan had been a staunch supporter of all of Romney’s political endeavors, especially his involvement in the controversial construction of a massive Mormon Temple in the toney Boston suburb of Belmont.
(Romney’s alleged purity did not last out his term, the Globe pointed out. As his term ran out, he stocked almost 200 state jobs with his political loyalists, including Eric Fehrnstrom, my old Herald colleague who’s already made his mark on this year’s campaign.)
Many of us did things in our childhood we regret, however not all of us went on to bankrupt companies for profit, strong-arm our political opponents, or sideline our national security adviser because Bryan Fischer doesn’t approve of his homosexuality.
This story suggests Romney may not have approved of Grenell’s openness either. It also suggests Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage may not be just a political pander to the conservative base.