Lawrence O'Donnell Attacks 'Whiter Than White' Romney and His 'Profoundly Weirder' Family History

Everyone knows the folks at MSNBC nearly faint in outrage whenever the words “Obama” and “Kenya” are used in the same sentence. Barack Hussein Obama Senior had four wives (one at a time), and fathered eight children from 1958 to 1982, but climbing that family tree is no doubt seen as racist by MSNBC.

But on Monday night’s Last Word on MSNBC, host Lawrence O’Donnell not only mocked Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather Miles Park Romney leaving America for Mexico to preserve his polygamy. He claimed their history is “profoundly weirder” than you would think – and didn’t really explain what he meant. [MP3 audio here. See video below.]

In the “Rewrite” segment, O’Donnell used a clip from the “grand inquisitors” at “Fox & Friends” where Romney joked about his family’s time in Mexico and “I wish I could claim that I’m Hispanic.” O’Donnell announced:

Mitt Romney tried to Rewrite himself today in a much more important way. He tried to rewrite who he is. I don't mean rewrite himself from liberal to conservative. He’s already done that. This is something much more basic. Romney tried to rewrite his whiteness. He tried to rewrite his ethnicity. Now Romney is not just white. He's whiter than white. So the only direction he could go was something that required a little less sunscreen.

Romney didn't try to "rewrite his whiteness." Here's what he actually said on Fox, which O'Donnell displayed:

You know, I wish I could claim that I`m Hispanic. That would help me in the Latino community here in Florida and around the country. But my dad was born of American parents living in Mexico. So he was Anglo at the time.

And yet I'm very proud of the fact that he came to this country at a critical time, was helped to get on his feet by folks in this country. He and his dad went around America, started a construction business. Ultimately, my dad went off and ran a car company. It’s an amazing land, of course. People coming here from all over the world seeking opportunity.

This led to an O’Donnell lecture on how the Romney family hated America and loved polygamy, and how this should be held against the current presidential candidate:

O'DONNELL: Yeah, it really is an amazing land. And those people who come from all over the world seeking opportunity rarely turn against this country and decide to leave, decide to go to another country that they like better. But that is exactly what the Romneys did.

After joining the Mormon Church, the Romneys came from England in 1841. Mitt Romney`s great grandfather, Miles Park Romney, so hated the laws of the United States of America that he moved his family and his four wives to Mexico in 1885. A few years later in Mexico, he brought a fifth wife into the family.

Mitt Romney’s great grandfather remained a polygamist long after it was declared illegal in the Utah territory by federal law in 1862, and after -- even after the Mormon Church turned against polygamy. But the Mormon Church was still torn about the issue of polygamy after they officially turned against it. And Brigham Young actually sent Miles Park Romney to Mexico in order to build a polygamist colony there populated by American Mormons.

The Romney settlement is still there in Mexico. NBC’s Mike Taibbi recently reported on the Romney cousins still living there. Mitt Romney’s branch of the family returned to the United States in 1912 not for any love of America, but simply because they feared the Mexican Revolution more than they feared living under the laws of the United States, which denied them their freedom to marry as many women as the founder of their religion did – forty-eight!

Even Joseph Smith's polygamy (and 48 wives is at the high range of estimates) can be used to tar Mitt Romney. Then came the denunciation of the "profoundly weirder" history of the Romneys:

Mitt Romney doesn’t like to tell the story of how many times his family came to the United States, and how many times his family left the United States in its attempt to preserve the practice of polygamy. He prefers to pretend his family came to the United States just once from Mexico. But the truth is profoundly weirder than that.

And it is a truth that Romney speech audiences and "Fox and Friends" viewers will never know.

One presumes he's accusing Gov. Romney of not explaining that his great-grandparents first left for Mexico. Chris Matthews gets furious about people who question Obama's background because it sounds like something that's "not accepting the specialness of America, like hes not really one of us." Those words certainly define what O'Donnell was doing on Monday night.

Romney -- not really one of us.

And the media disdain how the super PACs do all the negative campaigning...

PS: Geoffrey Dickens reminds me of O'Donnell trashing Romney's family and Mormonism in 2007 on The McLaughlin Group: " "And when he talks about the faith of his father, how about the faith of his great-grandfather, who had five wives?...And his religion is based on the work of a lying, fraudulent, criminal named Joseph Smith who was a racist, who was a, who was pro-slavery, his religion was completely pro-slavery...Look Romney comes from a religion founded by a criminal who was anti-American, pro-slavery and a rapist! And his, and he comes from that lineage and says,  'I respect this religion fully.'"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis