Mitt Romney, still claiming to have no memory of his multiple gay-bashing attacks on several students — at least one of whom was gay — while he attended an exclusive high school, attempted to minimize his accountability today by calling his actions “hijinks,” and saying, “Back in high school I did some dumb things.”
Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, stands accused in a Washington Post exposé, as The New Civil Rights Movement reported, of being “a gay-bashing high school bully who said, ‘Atta girl,’ to effeminate boys and shockingly had a days-long emotional attack that culminated with him pinning down a gay classmate and cutting off his bleached-blond long hair.”
Today, Justin Sink at The Hill reports that in the wake of the Post article, Romney went on the “Kilmeade & Friends” radio program to defend himself:
Mitt Romney said Thursday that “back in high school I did some dumb things” but insisted that the prep school pranks chronicled in a news story were never intended to target gay students specifically.
“They talked about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school, and they described some that, boy, you just say to yourself, ‘Back in high school,’ you know, ‘I did some dumb things.’ If anyone was hurt by that or offended by that, obviously, I apologize. But overall, high school years were a long time ago,” Romney said on the “Kilmeade & Friends” radio program.
The Hill article adds:
Romney said Thursday he didn’t remember the prank, and that fellow students’ sexual orientation was not something he considered in high school.
“I don’t remember that incident and I certainly don’t believe I or — I can’t speak for other people, of course — thought he was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case. But as to pranks that were played back then … I did stupid things, and I’m afraid I have to say sorry for it,” Romney said.
Romney is also depicted in the story as mocking a closeted gay student in class by yelling “atta’girl” when the student would speak up in class.
“I really can’t remember that,” Romney said. “There are a lot of times in a boys’ school where other boys do something and people say ‘atta’girl.’ But as this person indicated, he was closeted, I had no idea that he was gay and can’t speak to that even today. But as to the teasing and the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago — for me it’s 48 years ago. Again, if there’s anything I said that was offensive to anyone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry about that. No harm intended.”
Romney went on to talk about how he had grown and changed once meeting his wife, Ann, and said he “became a very different person.”
“I’m a very different person than I was in high school. I’m glad I learned as much as I did during those high school years … but I can tell you I’m quite a different guy now,” Romney said.
Romney then attempted to pivot to the economy, arguing that a discussion of how to fix the ailing economy was more important than his high school “hijinks.”
Romney’s “if there’s anything I said that was offensive to anyone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry about that. No harm intended,” response is boilerplate claptrap. And ignores the victim of his reported physical assault, who died in 2004.
No one should attempt to minimize gay-bashing, whether it occurred in 1965 or 2005. (The Hill article’s title offensively classifies Romney’s actions as “pranks.”) Yes, Romney may be “a very different person” today. But someone who attempts to minimize serious actions — pinning a minor down and forcibly cutting off his hair is easily assault in any jurisdiction in any decade, one would have to think — by calling them “hijinks” and saying they were “dumb things,” demonstrates they just don’t get it.
And why should anyone think Romney does get it? Not only does he not support the right of same-sex couples to marry — consistent with only half of the American populace, at most — but he does not support the right of same-sex couples to even enter into civil unions, a position so extreme it’s doubtful even one in four Americans share that position.
Yesterday, after President Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage, the political punditry class went into calculation mode. I’ll repeat what I said then. Issues like same-sex marriage, and now, gay-bashing, aren’t about policy and they’re not about politics, they’re about people.
Image: Mitt Romney Senior Photo 1965, courtesy Cranbrook Schools
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.