Monday, December 18, 2017
Politics

Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney's oldest son, offers insight into his father's faith, personality

TAMPA — Tagg Romney on Tuesday sought to explain why his father rarely discusses his Mormon faith in public, saying that a fundamental principle of the Church of the Latter-day Saints is to not "brag" about one's good deeds.

"One of the tenets of our faith and of many faiths is that you do good works. (But) you don't want to brag about things," Mitt Romney's oldest son told Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen on the "Newsmaker" set of the POLITICO Hub. "He's done his best, he's led his life that way. He's willing to talk about the fact that he was in that role, but he doesn't want to talk about the people he helped."

In a wide-ranging interview just hours before his mother, Ann Romney, was set to take the stage at the Republican National Convention, Tagg Romney spoke candidly about the sometimes misguided perception that the public has of his father's personality.

"He is emotional and kindhearted and soft in the inside. He projects a tough image on the outside," he said.

To demonstrate how his father prefers to keep quiet about his various acts of kindness, the 42-year-old told the story of how the former Massachusetts governor had watched over the daughter of a business partner who died suddenly from a heart attack.

When the woman asked Mitt Romney for a loan so she could attend medical school, his father promptly said yes, Tagg Romney said.

"(He) made her a substantial loan. He actually … sat down with her at regular intervals to go over her grades," he said.

After she graduated, Mitt Romney wrote her a Christmas card in which he said her loan would be forgiven.

"This woman probably doesn't want her story out there," Tagg Romney added.

The discussion also touched on the challenge Mitt Romney has faced in quieting the Obama camp's attacks on his tax returns.

Asked about his father's recent admission that he "never paid less than 13 percent" in taxes — comments that Democrats seized on to continue pummeling the Republican candidate on the issue — Tagg Romney conceded the incident highlighted one of Mitt Romney's weaknesses.

"He's sometimes too honest for his own good," he said.

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