Presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney apologized on Fox News today for bullying students who were gay or different during high school.
The apology stems from an investigation conducted by the Washington Post into Romney’s years as a student at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Michigan. The story ran under the headline, “Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents.”
“Back in high school, I did some dumb things,” Romney said during a radio interview this morning, reported by the Post. “And if anyone was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that.”
The Post story detailed a 1965 incident, witnessed by at least five Cranbrook students, in which Romney led a posse of students to track down John Lauber, a “soft-spoken new student” with bleached blond hair draped above one eye. A student who witnessed the incident, Matthew Friedmann, gave his version of what happened to the Post.
“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.”
“He can’t look like that,” Romney told a close friend at the time. “That’s wrong. Just look at him!”
No one was punished for the incident.
The Post also detailed incidents where Romney said, “Atta girl,” in class to a closeted gay student and deliberately held a door closed while a sight-impaired teacher walked into it.
Lauber, who died in 2004, was traumatized by the incident, according to a witness who bumped into him years later at a bar in Chicago O’Hare International Airport, reported the Chicago Tribune.
“It was horrible,” Lauber reportedly told David Seed, a witness to the event, who apologized to Lauber for not helping stop it, the Post said.
“I’m a very different person than I was in high school, of course, but I’m glad I learned as much as I did during those high school years,” Romney told Fox News. “There’s going to be some that want to talk about high school. Well, if you really think that’s important, be my guest.”