In 2009, the GOP candidate introduced Glenn Beck at a fundraiser for a school that promoted the work of a conservative "nutjob" eschewed by the Mormon church.
Thu Oct. 11, 2012
By David Corn
In 2009, Mitt Romney, who is now trying to campaign for president as a moderate, lent his star power to an unusual charitable project: celebrating right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck to raise money for an unaccredited Utah-based college, which was founded by acolytes of the late W. Cleon Skousen and promoted the work of this fringe conservative figure. Much-touted by Beck, Skousen was an anti-communist crusader, a purported political philosopher, a historian accused of racist revisionism, and a right-wing conspiracy theorist. He contended that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, claimed that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world from behind the scenes, and wrote a book that referred to the "blessings of slavery." Skousen, who died in 2006, taught Romney at Brigham Young University.
On May 30, 2009, George Wythe University (named after the first law professor in America, who was a teacher of Thomas Jefferson), held a fundraising gala at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. Beck, who was then riding high as a Fox News host, was the special guest, tapped to receive the school's annual "Statesman Award." Romney introduced him.
In a video messageâobtained by Mother Jonesâthat was recorded for the event, Romney praised Beck and this school, which the US Department of Justice has called a "diploma mill." He hailed George Wythe University and its supporters for "building statesmen" and "moving forward the cause of liberty and building men and women of virtue and wisdom, diplomacy, and courage." He introduced Beck as a "man who is really making an impact in our entire country today." Romney noted that Beck's "approach is refreshing" and that he "tries to focus his message on actionâ¦on learning the principles of freedom and liberty, on standing up and making your voice heard, on reading and applying the wisdom of our nation's founders to the challenges of today." Beck, he asserted, was "a statesman in his own right."