As the entire world now knows, Mitt Romney’s overseas trip — which was intended to burnish his diplomatic credentials — got off to a disastrous start when the presumptive Republican nominee managed to offend all of Britain in a matter of hours.
Romney’s British gaffe-fest was not the first time that he has displayed a distinct lack of diplomacy. In fact, as his former high school classmate Micahel Barone once put it, Mitt can be “kind of a jerk.”
What follow are five outstanding examples of the discreet charm of Willard Mitt Romney:
Insulting The Local Cookies
At a campaign stop in Bethel, Pennsylvania, Romney appeared disgusted by an offer of cookies from a beloved local landmark, Bethel Bakery.
“I’m not sure about these cookies,” Romney said. “They don’t look like you made them. Did you make those cookies? You didn’t, did you? No. No. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever.”
That Amusing Time His Dad Fired Everyone
Romney attempted to connect with a group of Wisconsin voters by chuckling through a “humorous” story about his father laying off thousands of auto workers in Michigan.
As you can hear in the audio above, Romney is — shockingly — the only one laughing.
Insulting The NASCAR Fans
Romney may be friends with many NASCAR owners, but as we learned during the Republican primary, NASCAR fans view him with considerable skepticism. On a trip to Daytona Speedway, Romney was initially booed by the crowd — and that was before he started directly mocking them.
“I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” Romney sarcastically told a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “Really sprung for the big bucks.”
Fighting With The Cops
At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Romney — angry at being stuck in a traffic jam — hopped out of the car and began directing traffic himself. According to Alec McGillis of The New Republic, Romney flew off the handle at an 18 year-old named Shaun Knopp, who was volunteering as a security officer:
Knopp told reporters that Romney had asked “who the fuck” he was and “what the fuck” he was doing and had then told him, “We got the Olympics going on, and we don’t need this shit going on.” Romney denied this at the time, saying he had not used such language since high school. “I would not, have not, and never would use the f-word,” he said. The worst word he used with Knopp, he said, was “H-E double hockey sticks.”
Hilarious “Pranks” Like Impersonating A Cop
Romney’s curious approach to making friends goes all the way back to his youth. In college, Romney told the other residents of his dorm that he liked to dress up in a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform and pull over unsuspecting drivers — a practice that his former classmate Robin Madden found “pretty creepy.”