Mitt Romney Reflects Upon His Unplanned Life of Public Service

“If you get a chance to run for President, do it. It’s a great experience. Or run for city council or the school board. If the window opens, jump through. … Always keep an eye open if you’re needed to serve.”

Mitt Romney

Missionary. Management consultant. Olympic organizer. Governor. Presidential candidate. Author. You don’t script a career path like the one Mitt Romney has traveled. But you do pick up a lesson or two along the way, which Romney shared recently with an overflow crowd at Graham Chapel.

“He has lived the reality that life will take twists and turns,” said Dean Nancy Staudt, who moderated the event. “Sometimes we can’t predict the future, but we can join in and take opportunities as they arise. Sometimes that means taking a few personal risks along the way.”

Following a welcome by Chancellor Mark Wrighton and a few prepared remarks by Romney, Vice Provost Adrienne Davis and Vice Dean Adam Rosenzweig led the discussion. In response to Rosenzweig’s question about the role of public figures after a contentious election, Romney noted that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump spoke in their campaigns of unifying the country.

However, he observed, “very little was done by either one. … The only way I see us coming together is through leadership of the person at the top, showing that he cares as much for the people who didn’t vote for him as he cares for the people who did.”

Davis asked about the state of cultural diversity and religious liberty, to which Romney observed: “One of the characteristics of populism is to find a scapegoat, to blame the failed expectations upon. On the right, it tends to be immigrants and foreigners. On the left, it tends to be the rich. You don’t become great and good by blaming. We are in desperate need of great leaders … who won’t fall prey to demagoguery on the left or right.”

Romney also answered students’ questions on such topics as trade and open borders, reproductive rights, the codependence of the public and private sectors, budgets for defense and foreign aid, and governmental regulation.

At a reception at WashULaw, Romney closed out his visit posing for selfies with dozens of individuals plus one giant selfie in the Crowder Courtyard.

View Fireside Chat with Governor Romney below.