Earlier this year, Mitt Romney became the sole Republican senator to call for Trump’s impeachment. His vote clearly hasn’t sat well with the president, at least if his reaction to Romney’s negative testing for Coronavirus is anything to go by. “This is really great news! I am so happy I can barely speak. He may have been a terrible presidential candidate and an even worse U.S. Senator, but he is a RINO (Republican in Name Only), and I like him a lot!” Trump tweeted with his usual levels of diplomacy. So, Trump’s clearly not a fan, but what else should we know about the Utah senator? Read on to find out.
1. He was named after a hotel magnate
Romney was born on March 12, 1947, in Detroit, Michigan. His father was George W. Romney, an automobile executive and close friend of businessman J. Willard Marriott, the founder of Marriott International. Perhaps hoping his newborn son would follow in Marriot’s super-successful footsteps, Romney Senior decided to give him the first name of Willard. Eventually, Romney dropped ‘Willard’ in favor of his middle name, Mitt, a moniker that came from his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney, a quarterback for the Chicago Bears during the 1920s.
2. He met his wife at 18 years old
When Romney was 18, he met his future wife, Anne Davis, at a party. After gaining acceptance at Stanford University, he took a part-time job as a chauffeur so he could afford to fly home to see her at weekends. The pair eventually married in a civil ceremony on March 21, 1969, and are now parents to five sons and grandparents to twenty-four kids.
3. He was a college prankster
At college, Romney had a well-deserved reputation as a prankster. Some of his “hijinks and pranks” included sliding down golf courses on large ice cubes, dressing up a police officer and interrupting courting couples in cars, staging formal dinner parties on streets and, somewhat less lightheartedly, holding down another student and chopping off his hair.
4. He’s served as a Mormon missionary
In the 1960s, Romney, a fifth-generation member of the LDS Church, spent thirty-months in France as a Mormon missionary. His conversion rate wasn’t exactly record-breaking, and he’s since estimated he managed to convert only around ten to twenty people during his entire time with the mission. He did, however, earn a deserved reputation for tenacity, gaining recognition for both the number of homes he visited and the number he was invited back to. By June 1968, he’d been promoted to co-president of the mission.
5. He’s had a near-death experience
During his time as a missionary in France, Romney came within a hair’s breadth of meeting his maker after a drunk Catholic priest drove head-on into his car. One of Romney’s passengers was killed outright, while Romney, who sustained broken ribs, a fractured arm, a concussion, and facial injuries, had to be pulled from the wreckage by rescue workers.
6. He got into a fight with Sky Blu
In 2010, Romney made headlines when things got physical between him and LMFAO rapper Sky Blu on a flight from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver to Los Angeles. According to Rolling Stone, things kicked off after the rapper reclined his seat prior to takeoff, resulting in Romney, who was sat directly behind him, loudly demanding he straighten up. Tensions quickly escalated, and while Blu later claimed Romney was the one to take things physical first (“He grabbed my shoulder, and I was like boom get off of me,” he said. “The man assaulted me. I was protecting myself”), the police disagreed, arresting the rapper shortly after landing.
7. He’s one of People’s most beautiful
He may not always bring in the votes on election day, but Romney’s no stranger to winning polls. In 2002, the politician was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People, finishing in 24th place overall (and before you dismiss it as “just 24th”, he still managed to come in 1 place above legendry model Cindy Crawford, 3 above Halle Berry, 10 above Cameron Diaz, and 12 above Hugh Jackman). Clearly, all those years of saying no to cigarettes, alcohol, and stimulants have paid off.
8. He’s a self-made millionaire
No one can deny Romney didn’t have a good start in life: His father, George, was the chairman and CEO of American Motors, a man widely credited with saving the motoring giant from bankruptcy in the ’50s and returning it to profitability. Between January 1, 1963 – January 22, 1969, he also served as the 43rd Governor of Michigan. On his father’s death in 1995, Romney stood to inherit a sizeable chunk of inheritance, but rather than accept it, he chose to donate it to charity instead. His decision didn’t exactly put him in the breadline, however: as of 2020, Celebrity Net Worth estimates his worth to be in the region of $250 million.
9. He’s been arrested
In 1981, Romney was arrested after getting into a dispute with a state park ranger about the license number on his boat. After being told by the ranger that he’d face a $50 fee for using the boat without the number being visible, Romney said he’d take it out anyway and just pay the fine regardless. The warder proceeded to arrest Romney for disorderly conduct, but the charges were later dropped. 2 years later, he was in trouble again after he went on a 12-hour drive with his dog riding atop the car in a carrier. After the dog suffered a bout of diarrhea, Romney stopped at a car wash and proceeded to wash the car, the carrier, and the dog before carrying on with his journey.
10. He’s a lurker
In October 2019, Romney came out to The Atlantic as a ‘lurker’. Keen to keep tabs on his political opponents, he’d created a secret Twitter account to follow numerous journalists, late-night comedians, athletes, and politicians (although not Trump, who he said “…tweets so much. It’s like, Ah, it’s too much.”). Despite refusing to reveal his Twitter pseudo name at the time, it was later revealed by Slate Magazine as Pierre Delecto.