Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney apologized today after a report from The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz detailed episodes in which Romney bullied high school classmates, including two who later revealed they were gay.
“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 during an interview with radio host Brian Kilmeade that was not included on a schedule of Romney’s media events distributed to reporters. “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.”
Horowitz describes one incident in which Romney, assisted by classmates, cut off the bleached hair of a younger student who later came out of the closet.
“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 [John] 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.
“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney told Kilmeade, chuckling. “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.”