WASHINGTON – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is shrugging off a Democratic governor’s remark that a history of polygamy in the Romney family could hurt his chances of being elected.
Romney says his grandfather did not have multiple wives, as Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in an interview. The Republican did not mention that his great-grandfather had more than one wife.
Romney is a Mormon, and plural marriage was a teaching of the church in the 19th century.
“My dad’s dad was not a polygamist,” Romney told Fox News on Friday when asked about Schweitzer’s remarks.
“My dad grew up in a family with a mom and a dad and a few brothers and one sister. They lived in Mexico and they lived a very nice life there from what I understand,” he said.
The online news site the Daily Beast reported Schweitzer’s comments. He said in an interview Thursday that Romney could have trouble nationally because his father was “born on a polygamy commune in Mexico.”
But it was Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles P. Romney, who had multiple wives, not his grandfather, according to “The Real Romney,” a biography of the former Massachusetts governor written by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman.
Polygamy was part of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for decades in the 1800s. Church history says its president received in 1890 what he believed was a revelation from God to withdraw the command to practice plural marriage.
Mitt Romney’s father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in a Mormon colony in Mexico in 1907. Mitt Romney’s grandfather Gaskell Romney married in 1895, five years after the church’s ban of polygamy.