Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will no longer bring up Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, the campaign said Wednesday in response to a complaint from Doherty's mother.
"Governor Romney was inspired by the memory of meeting Glen Doherty and shared his story and that memory. We respect the wishes of Mrs. Doherty though," campaign aide Kevin Madden told BuzzFeed.
On Tuesday, Romney spoke to supporters in Iowa, recalling a chance encounter with a former Navy SEAL while mistakenly attending a Christmas party in San Diego a few years ago.
“I met some remarkable people, one of whom was a former Navy SEAL," Romney said. "I just learned a few days ago that he was one of the two former Navy SEALs killed in Benghazi. It broke my heart.”
Romney didn't directly provide Doherty's name, but his campaign later confirmed his identity. He was one of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed during a violent assault on the consulate in Benghazi last month.
Boston's WHDH later reached out to Doherty's mother, Barbara, to get her reaction to Romney's campaign trail anecdote.
"I don't trust Romney. He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda," she told WHDH. "It's wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
Doherty similarly decried the politicization of her son's death in an interview with the Boston Herald last month.
Glen Doherty's friend, Elf Ellefsen, also spoke with Seattle's KIRO, expressing similar disagreement with Romney's mention of his friend's death.
According to Ellefsen, Doherty found his exchange with Romney to be "insincere and stale."
"Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image," Ellefsen told KIRO. "He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line ... [Doherty] 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."
Romney had again made mention of his meeting with Doherty in the wake of these reports on Wednesday during a town hall event in Ohio.
UPDATE: 9:58 p.m. -- Doherty's sister, Kate Quigley, told CNN Wednesday evening she doesn't share her mother's anger about Romney using her brother's story, saying Doherty "would be the first one to reach across party lines and defuse the situation."
"The fact of the matter is what Governor Mitt Romney said about my brother Glen is true, and he called him a hero and we're honored by that," Quigley said. "And we're honored by what Obama did for the homecoming. The fact of the matter is being an American hero can be completely bipartisan and everybody wants to point fingers and play the blame game -- let's blame the terrorists."
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