The friend of a former Navy SEAL who was recently killed during attacks in Libya says that his friend “would definitely not approve” of Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney invoking his name to score political points.
Over the past week, Romney has been recalling a chance meeting with former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty years ago to get an edge on President Barack Obama after attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of the veteran, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans.
The former Massachusetts governor appeared to get choked up on Tuesday as he told a crowd in Iowa that he had met Doherty when he mistakenly attended the wrong neighborhood party.
“We had a lot of things in common,” Romney said. “You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALs killed in Benghazi on Sept. 11th.”
But Elf Ellefsen, a friend of Doherty’s, said that the former SEAL’s recollection of Romney was not as favorable.
“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen told Ron & Don radio show producer Libby Denkmann. “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”
“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
Although Doherty was a member of the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), Ellefsen said that he was non-political and “would not approve” Romney using his name.
“Whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, it doesn’t make a difference,” Ellefsen explained. “Because this guy is using our great friend, our humble, and honorable great friend… who is truly larger than life… He has become part of the soapbox routine for politics in a presidential race.”
“Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it. He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
Speaking to WHDH, Doherty’s mother also called on the GOP hopeful to stop using her son’s name on the campaign trail.
“I don’t trust Romney,” Barbara Doherty told the station. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
Update (2:30 p.m. ET): After Romney told the same story about Glen Doherty again on Wednesday, his campaign promised that the former Massachusetts governor would not mention the slain former SEAL in campaign speeches again.
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Oct. 9, 2012.
Watch this video from WHDH, broadcast Oct. 10, 2012.
Listen to this audio from KIRO, broadcast Oct. 10, 2012.