Wreck

11.29.13

Josh Romney’s Awkward Car-Crash ‘Selfie’

Mitt Romney’s son rescued four people from a car crash—then tweeted a photo of himself grinning next to the wreck. Bad move if you’re an aspiring politician.

When, as, and if Josh Romney runs for public office, an ambition he is rumored to harbor, he will have the best team of political professionals money can buy. He will have pollsters, strategists, admakers, opposition researchers, get-out-the-vote organizers and a campaign press secretary who knows how to use a Rolodex and plant a positive story with no fingerprints.

But for now, handsome, strapping Josh—a 38-year-old real estate developer in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mitt and Ann Romney’s No. 3 son—must do it himself. Thus, on Thanksgiving night, when Josh happened by a traffic accident in Salt Lake City and managed to help four people out of a car that had just crashed into a house, it fell to him, and him alone, to publicize his good deed on Twitter.

“Was first on scene to big accident, see pic of car in the house,” Josh tweeted. “I lifted 4 people out to safety. All ok. Thankful.” Accompanying the tweet was a the moral equivalent of a selfie of Josh standing proudly in front of the wrecked SUV that had just destroyed some homeowner’s kitchen.

Weirdly, he is grinning—the symptom of either a relentlessly sunny personality or else an alarming incapacity to empathize with another person’s horrible luck. Of course, Josh, like his four brothers, is a member in good standing of the Lucky Sperm Club.

On his Facebook page, the father of three elaborated: “I was the first on scene to the huge accident on 4500 South last night. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured and I was able to lift all four passengers out of the car. The car just missed us at the intersection and hit this house going about 70 mph. You can see from the pic that we are in the homeowner’s kitchen.”

Never mind the creepy echo of The Contender, in which a governor who wants to be named vice president (played by William Peterson) fakes a rescue attempt of a woman in a submerged car in order to improve his chances of being selected. And, okay, let’s admit that if any of us were in a bad car accident, we’d prefer more likely than not to have Josh Romney nearby to pull us out of the wreckage—and he’s certainly to be applauded for helping those four unfortunates on Thursday night. On the other hand, if we were Josh and hoping to launch a political career, we’d probably find a way to have someone else trumpet the good deed so as not to appear a self-obsessed braggart. Or, worse, some sort of Cory Booker wannabe.

Weirdly, he is grinning—the symptom of either a relentlessly sunny personality or else an alarming incapacity to empathize with another person’s horrible luck.

Also, we would not be caught grinning in the photo.

Needless to say, Josh took a fair amount of grief on his Twitter feed on Friday.

One wag tweeted: “I saved millions of lives … by getting people to not vote for your father.”

“Congratulations?” tweeted another.

“Only a Romney would see this as a photo op,” another detractor tweeted.

And another: “Why are you smiling, you twit?”

All of which serves as a cautionary note for aspiring politicians in the Romney clan who would like some credit, and maybe even a little bit of love, for the genuinely good deeds they do: next time, let Tagg tweet it.