Romney’s classmates recall his assault of a gay student.

A Washington Post reporter interviewed five prep-school classmates of Mitt Romney’s, all of whom independently recalled that, in Mitt Romney’s senior year, he attacked a gay classmate. They say Romney led a small posse to the kid’s dorm room, where he was held down while Romney forcibly cut the crying boy’s shaggy, bleached blond hair. Decades later, the victim recalled to a former classmate how terrifying and life-affecting that the incident was. There’s something about these white, conservative, male politicians who grew up in wealthy, powerful families in the 1950s and 1960s that led them to engage in what they probably regarded as pranks, but their victims recalled as terrible, traumatic experiences. 

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

26 replies on “Romney’s classmates recall his assault of a gay student.”

  1. What a coincidence that the Washington Post had an article like this ready to go the day after Obama made his announcement.

  2. How, exactly, can someone “not recall” whether or not one led a group of friends to hold a kid down and cut off his hair? He didn’t deny that he’d done it; his spokesperson said he “didn’t recall that incident.” Do you have so many similar incidents in your past that this one just blends in? I think if I had ever physically assaulted a peer in this way, I’d remember having done it.

    Marriage is between a man and a woman. And guys with funny-looking hair who act a little bit, you know, gay, well they need to be pounded back into line. It’s what Jesus would do, apparently.

  3. How brave of these Obama supporters to come forward with this story 47 after the alleged event, on the eve of an election, after the alleged victim is dead. Eight years ago, liberals called this “swift boating.”

    Hypocritical much?

  4. It’s just like the big expose the WashPost did about Obama having done cocaine a very long time ago…. oh right, they never did write about that.

    The Washington Post has already been stealth editing the online version of the article to remove some of the allegations, but what do they care, its just a hit piece.

  5. 50 years ago Mitt and a group of yahoos cut the hair of a guy who might have been gay but could have been the strong boys make the weak conform. OK- Bad Mitt.

    Bullying is bad but honestly this was an era where corporal punishment in schools was still allowed. The kid wasn’t beat up – he had his hair cut. To view this incident with today’s lens of “zero tolerance” is an over reach of those in fully panic as the race for president looks to get closer.

    Republicans say many stupid things about Obama and focus on the trivial to the distraction of the nation true problems. This is Democrats doing the exact same thing.

    It’s odd that this report comes just after Obama is forced by Biden to articulate his support for gay marriage. Just a coincidence I’m sure

  6. Given a choice between someone who recreationally used drugs back in the day and someone who led a group of friends to harass and assault the kid who seemed kind of, you know, faggy, I’ll take the non-dickhead-bully any day.

  7. As someone who taunted, and quit possibly bullied other teenagers around homosexuality 40 years ago, it is something that I will regret to my dying day, and never forget. However, tackling and shaving someone’s hair isn’t bullying, it is simple assault.

    Romney can’t remember? He either continues to have no ability to relate to the consequences of his actions, or he is a lying sack of shit. Either way, he remains the same inauthentic weirdo that his fellow Republicans warned us about. Hopefully he is just lying.

  8. What Obama allegedly did in his college years (tried cocaine) = doing something that had the potential to cause a small amount of harm to himself, presumably to satisfy his own curiosity and desire for experience.

    What Romney allegedly did in his college years (assaulted a gay classmate) = doing something that could potentially cause a huge amount of harm to another person, presumably because he felt threatened by the mere existence of somebody who didn’t fit the world as he saw it.

    It doesn’t quite seem fair to me to equate those two things.

  9. James it was high school not college and this story has started to unravel a bit:

    From the Daily Beast by Michael Tomasky ” One Post source, a fellow named White, was described in the original story as having “long been bothered” by the Lauber incident. Apparently, he didn’t know about that incident until the Post told him; he knew about Romney’s pranks more generally. The Post adjust the copy online and in later editions. Okay, that’s a factual error, but it isn’t one that has any direct bearing at all on whether the Lauber incident happened as the paper described. The second thing carries a little more weight.

    It is that one of Lauber’s sisters has no memory of the incident. It is not that she denies it happened. She just didn’t know. She goes on to tell ABC that her brother was a very private person and that she was off at college. Her last comment below suggests that she allows that such a thing could well have happened to her brother:

    When ABC News showed her the story, Christine Lauber’s eyes welled up with tears and she became agitated.

    She also corrected the story, saying her brother was a boarder, not a day student.

    She described her brother as a “very unusual person.”

    “He didn’t care about running with the peer group,” Christine Lauber said. “What’s wrong with that?”

    In that last quote, she is pretty clearly envisioning the event as plausible and feeling horribly for her brother. She and other family members apparently object to how their brother was portrayed in the article, but that’s not the same as denying that the incident happened, which I don’t see that she’s done. Indeed it appears that she implicitly accepts at the least that it could have happened.”

    From the Washington Post(all comment are theirs): This is the original online paragraph:

    “I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident [emphasis added]. “But I was not the brunt on any of his pranks.”

    This is the new paragraph as it appeared in print and now appears online:

    “I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and said he has been “disturbed” by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks” [emphasis added].

    Oh and why didn’t anyone ask John Lauber himself about it- he passed away from liver cancer in 2004-so no one can ever get his side of the story

  10. It is that one of Lauber’s sisters has no memory of the incident. It is not that she denies it happened. She just didn’t know.

    To be fair, I don’t think that’s the sort of thing that you go home and tell your sister about. Or, probably, anybody.

  11. The story is not starting to unravel, it’s pretty clear this happened. The Romney campaign has NEVER denied it; the sources were not all Democrats with an axe to grind.

    But, the incident itself is not the most important thing to me. We’re going to see a lot of this stuff (for both candidates) in the next 6 months (kill me now, I am soooo ready for this election to be over already.)

    What’s most important to me is how a candidate handles these type of media eruptions. And Romney’s reaction and response speak volumes; much more so than something he did as a teenager 40+ years ago.

    First, he didn’t remember it. Then, he didn’t know the guy was gay. Then he apologized. Then he admonished a local reporter for asking dumb questions. ::eyeroll::

    One big lesson I learned in the last election: how a campaign manages the campaign and the candidate is indicative of how the candidate will govern. And Romney and his campaign are not doing a very good job so far (see also Richard Grenell’s resignation) .

  12. Perlogik, neither of those things in any way “unravels” the story. What about the sister’s statements contradicts the Post story?

    Also, you got the first discrepancy wrong. The new text says “he has been ‘disturbed’ by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, BEFORE being contacted by The Washington Post” (emphasis added). So the difference is “several weeks” versus “long”, not that the Post told him about it. In any case, as you say, that friend wasn’t a witness and isn’t important to the story.

  13. Holding a kid down you didn’t like anyway, and cutting his bleached blond hair off while he yells for help, is not something most people would easily forget even all these years later. It’s such an unusual, specific act after all. It should stand out in one’s mind the way simple verbal taunting or even a punch in the face might not.

    If Willard did indeed forget about this physical attack, what does that say about Willard? That this was such a common occurence that it got lost in a crowd of similar instances? Or that Willard’s got early onset Alzheimer’s? Or, is he just lying again? Any other thoughts about what this “forgetfulness” might mean?

  14. I agree with Claire. It’s clearly the mark of a moral coward….kinda like a guy who sits in a church pew for 20+ years yet amazingly never, ever, hears any of the vicious, hateful, racist remarks spewed from the pulpit. Someone who does that is a moral coward twice over — once for continuing to sit in the church, and once more for claiming to have never heard it (and saying that if he did he certainly would have challenged it, or at least gotten up and left.)

    Our choice is coward A v. coward B.

  15. Huh, Obama never heard it? After the Rev. Wright eruption, Obama made a major speech on race. Here’s a snippet:

    “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.”

    So, I. Publius, if you’re equating the two candidates on moral cowardice, can we now expect a major speech from Romney on bullying? He admitted he did “stupid stuff”, so let’s see him address his moral cowardice more thoroughly, as Obama did.

  16. Pathetic attempt at spin. Obama distanced himself from Wright as much as political expediency demanded, but only *after* the shitstorm erupted. If BHO had an ounce of moral character, he would have quit Wright’s church when the good reverend uttered the hate speech. Instead, BHO stayed in the church for many years, got married by the dirtball, and appointed Wright to a council of religious leaders during his campaign. Then, of course, the world found about about what was preached in that church, and political necessity determined Obama’s course of action, as it always does.

    I can’t decide if it’s laughable or sad that you think BHO addressed the issue “thoroughly.” Enjoy that kool-aid, big guy.

  17. During the 2008 campaign, the Wright issue was demagogued to death by the Republicans and their lackeys. To claim Obama did not deal with it thoroughly is selective memory.

    MY recollection is that he did a lot of soul searching, resulting in a complete repudiation of much of what Wright said from the pulpit and in the media.

    The Wright nonsense was an attempt to Swift-Boat Obama through guilt-by-association, which turned out not to work very well for the Karl Rove types. Romney’s bullying is about his OWN (not someone else’s) actions when he was an 18 years old, and his own outrageous response to this incident as an adult.

  18. Wow, I don’t believe Mitt Romney would be so stupid as to draw an equivalency between his assault on a homosexual and Reverend Wright’s guilt by association. That argument would require prostituted moral values, and the cynical belief that American voters are stupid.

  19. I.P., I said “more thoroughly”, why did you put quotes around “thoroughly”? Why you gotta be a typical wingnut who takes things out of context? (Oh yes, I am going there.)

    Also, I. Publius, you know the phrase hoisted by your own petard? You agree with Clare that Romney exhibited “the mark of a moral coward” (see how quotes work?). So, then, is he going to address it? Like Obama did? That’s the only point I made; Obama addressed it. Romney dismissed it as unimportant.

    Also, I’m not a guy and I’m not big. (I soooo want to make a general statement about typical wingnut assumptions, but I shall refrain. ;-)

  20. IP: That’s “Reverend” dirtball to you.

    So are we comparing an assault on someone with staying in church for 20 years?

    I could equate Romney’s staying with George W. Bush as an endorser with Wright and his non-endorsement. After all, Bush is a convicted war criminal. Wright is only a loudmouth.

  21. those that defend holding down another human being and cutting of their hair and endorse someone like that for president are just plan ignorant. Before you know all you white folks will have n****s in the kitchen and the back of the bus too. Oh yeah and Claire Jesus said turn the other cheek after all mary magdalene was a prostitute so please dont use Jesus to hide behind your ignorance

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