Mitt Romney talks favorite meats, stirs memories of his Iowa donut debacle

Illustration by Jordan Sellergren

Failed 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is currently running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Utah, which he currently describes as his home state. (Romney was born and raised in Michigan, served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and has spent much of his time at his home in Southern California since his 2012 loss to President Obama.) During a recent interview with the Washington Examiner, Romney, the multi-millionaire son of a governor (his dad George Romney was governor of Michigan), decided to prove he’s just a regular guy by telling the public what his favorite meats are.

That Romney would have trouble sounding like a normal person when talking about food normal people eat won’t come as a surprise to anyone who remembers his 2012 Iowa campaign.

During a photo op at the Main Street Cafe in downtown Council Bluffs, Romney seemed confused about donuts. Unable to recall the word “donut,” Romney opted to call the cafe’s donuts “chocolate goodies” instead.

Romney’s apparent unfamiliarity or discomfort with familiar comfort foods (donuts, cookies, pizza) was on display at stops around the country during his 2012 campaign.

TV cameras managed to catch Romney’s donut episode in Council Bluffs in all its awkwardness. But what the cameras didn’t catch was damage Romney’s staff did at the cafe, or his inability to apologize politely to the owner for that damage.

Dianne Bauer, owner of the Main Street Cafe, described Romney’s staff as “arrogant” when describing the damage they caused to Fox 42 in Omaha.

“Stuff got broke. My table cloths they just got ripped off, wadded up and thrown in the back room,” Bauer said. She added, “My dad’s picture, an emblem my dad gave me, it got broke. Those aren’t things you can replace.”

The Romney campaign told Bauer to make an itemized list of the damages and she would be reimbursed.

The Main Street Cafe is a frequent stop for presidential candidates in search of an Iowa photo-op, but Bauer said none of the other campaigns have behaved like Romney’s.

“With Rick Perry he made a point of stopping in the kitchen before he ever went to the other side to address the public and the media to thank us and introduce himself to us,” Bauer said. “”That’s what I thought we would get [with Romney], just normal.”


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After some news reports about the damage to the cafe, Romney called Bauer to apologize, but that didn’t go normally either.

“He responded ‘well, I’m sorry your table cloths got ripped off, wadded up and thrown in the back room’ and I took it as mocking,” Bauer told Fox 42. “We’re the ones he’s wanting to get the votes from, you’d think we would have been treated better.”

Romney’s current Senate campaign is experiencing more difficulties than many expected. In Utah, Republican candidates can bypass primary voters, and win their party’s nomination at its state convention, which is held before the primary. At the convention last month, Romney failed to win the necessary number of votes from delegates to secure the nomination, despite Romney having the backing of many high-profile Republicans, including President Trump.

Trump’s support comes despite the fact that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney repeatedly denounced Trump as a “fraud” and a “con man.” In returned, Trump said Romney “choked like a dog” during his 2012 presidential run.

The two men publicly reconciled after the 2016 election over dinner at Jean-Georges, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Manhattan. According to press pool report on the dinner, “The appetizer was young garlic soup with thyme and sautéed frog legs. Next they had diver scallops with caramelized cauliflower and a caper raisin reduction.” For his entrée, “Romney had lamb chops with the mushroom bolognese sauce.”

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