MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The mother of a retired Navy SEAL killed in Libya is lashing out at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for discussing her son’s death on the campaign trail.
“I don’t trust Romney. 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,” said Barbara Doherty, according to 7News in Boston.
Doherty is the mother of Glen Doherty, who was killed during the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Twice on Tuesday and again Wednesday morning, Romney described meeting Doherty. The tale starts out as a self-deprecating story about how the Romneys thought they were going to a neighborhood Christmas party, but inadvertently crashed a private party. After the crowd chuckles at Romney, he grows serious and describes one man he met at the party – Doherty – and their shared interests, and how Romney just learned he was among the Americans killed in Libya, and how he exemplifies the United States’ nature.
“When they heard that the consulate was under attack, they went to the attack,” he told rapt supporters gathered in a pump manufacturing plant here Wednesday morning. “They didn’t hunker down and hide themselves. They went there. That’s what Americans do -- when there’s a challenge, when there’s a threat, we go there. When things are tough, we don’t give up.”
A Seattle-area news site spoke with one of Doherty’s friends, who disputed the details of the encounter, saying that Romney repeatedly introduced himself.
“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,” Elf Ellefsen told mynorthwest.com.
He added that his friend was nonpolitical, and his appearance on the stump “does make me sick.”
“Glen would definitely not approve of it,” he said.
The Romney campaign said the nominee would no longer tell the story of the late Doherty.
“Gov. Romney was inspired by the memory of meeting Glen Doherty and shared his story and that memory, but we respect the wishes of Mrs. Doherty,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
Not everyone in the Doherty family was offended by Romney mentioning the fallen American’s sacrifice. His sister Kate Quigley said she was honored.
“It was nice what he said. Being an American hero is bipartisan,” Quigley told WCVB. “I am happy for it, and I was honored by Obama’s coming home ceremony.”
[Updated, 11:28 a.m. Oct. 10: This post has been updated to include the Romney campaign and Quigley’s response.]