The stories about Mitt Romney’s bullying behavior as a high school student, first reported in the Washington Post, do not appear to be going away.
Quite the contrary.
“One former classmate and old friend of Romney’s – who refused to be identified by name – said there are “a lot of guys” who went to Cranbrook who have “really negative memories” of Romney’s behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as “evil” and “like Lord of the Flies.”
The classmate believes Romney is lying when he claims to not remember it.
“It makes these fellows [who have owned up to it] very remorseful. For [Romney] not to remember it? It doesn’t ring true. How could the fellow with the scissors forget it?” the former classmate said.”
While saying that he does not remember specifics, Romney offered an apology of sorts in a radio interview with Fox News:
“I’m not going to be too concerned about their piece. They talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that, well you just say to yourself, ‘back in high school, well, I did some dumb things’ and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize but overall high school years were a long time ago.”
Romney also says that at the time, he had no idea that the victims of his pranks may have been gay, since they didn’t come out of the closet until much later. That’s quite plausible. In one case in which Romney is described as leading an attack on a student, the victim’s alleged mistake was to have worn his hair too long.
The Romney campaign is reportedly reaching out to former classmates, asking them to come forward and vouch for the candidate’s behavior and character. It’ll be interesting to hear what they have to say. This story has a ways to play out yet.
Two closing points:
– It’s important to note that Romney was 18 at the time. None of us is the person that we were at 18. Norms of social behavior were also different back then.
– That said, the behaviors described are troubling. Having learned of the allegations, The Washington Post had an obligation to report them. If you read the entire , lengthy Post story, it does a good job of putting the allegations into context, including anecdotes that speak well of the future GOP nominee. Neither the story nor Romney should be judged based on incomplete information.
– Jay Bookman