Facebook posts
stated on February 6, 2020 in a Facebook post:
Mitt Romney’s father “U.S. Senator George Romney, was a liberal Republican who had ties to Saul Alinsky, yes, the same dude who wrote the book, Rules For Radicals and dedicated to Satan.”
true barely-true
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to reporters on his way to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to reporters on his way to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP)

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to reporters on his way to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman February 7, 2020

In an attack on Mitt Romney’s father, post exaggerates link to Saul Alinsky and Satan

If Your Time is short

  • Mitt Romney’s father Gov. George Romney met with Saul Alinsky after the 1967 Detroit riots.

  • Republicans have criticized Alinsky, a Chicago-based community organizer who wrote “Rules for Radicals.”

  • Alinsky’s book doesn’t advocate for worshipping Satan. It includes a tongue-in-cheek reference to Lucifer as “the very first radical.”

After U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney cast the lone Republican vote in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, viral news about the Utah politician flooded Facebook.

One post zeroed in on his dad:

"You see, his father, U.S. Senator George Romney, was a liberal Republican who had ties to Saul Alinsky, yes, the same dude who wrote the book, Rules For Radicals and dedicated to Satan," states the Feb. 6 post.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The post wrongly called George Romney a U.S. senator — he was governor of Michigan between 1963 and 1969. (The author of the post later changed the wording to call George Romney a politician.) Gov. Romney was known as a moderate who was sometimes at odds with his Republican Party. In 1969, he was appointed by President Richard Nixon as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 

A spokeswoman for Sen. Mitt Romney declined to comment.

George Romney met with Alinsky in the 1960s

We found that Gov. Romney did meet with Alinksy, a famous liberal community organizer, in 1967. That’s not much of a tie.

Nor is there much to the claim that Alinsky dedicated a book to Satan. Alinsky only mentioned Lucifer in one paragraph of his book.

Alinsky was a Chicago community organizer who wrote the 1971 book "Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals." The book offers advice to activists seeking to influence public policy, covering topics such as class differences and tactics such as disrupting meetings and winning media attention.

Alinksy didn’t dedicate his book to Satan. The word "dedication" isn’t included in the intro — though he does have a "personal acknowledgments" section where Alinsky listed his wife and editors.

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However, Alinsky did indeed include an opening blurb on Lucifer, attributed to Alinsky himself. The epigraph is one of three; the other two quote Rabbi Hillel and philosopher Thomas Paine.

"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.

— SAUL ALINSKY"

His point seems to be acknowledging Lucifer in a figurative sense, rather than advocacy for satanism.

The rest of the book includes no real discussion of Lucifer or Satan, though it does talk about the way people demonize political opponents so that others see their opponents as "devils."

As we noted, Mitt Romney’s father George Romney did meet with Alinsky. BuzzFeed reported that after the 1967 riots in Detroit, Romney met with Alinksy to discuss the grievances of the urban poor. The Library of Congress preserved photos of Alinsky meeting with black community organizers as well as meeting with Romney

T. George Harris's 1968 book Romney’s Way quoted Romney saying to his "reluctant white friends": "I think you ought to listen to Alinsky. It seems to me that we are always talking to the same people. Maybe the time has come to hear new voices," he said.

Our ruling

A Facebook post said Mitt Romney’s father "U.S. Senator George Romney, was a liberal Republican who had ties to Saul Alinsky, yes, the same dude who wrote the book, Rules For Radicals and dedicated to Satan."

The elder Romney was the Michigan governor when he met with Alinsky after the 1967 Detroit riots. That’s not much of a tie. And as for Alinsky, he did not dedicate his book to Satan. What any of this has to do with Mitt Romney’s impeachment vote? You’re guess is as good as ours. 

 We rate this claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Feb. 6, 2020

BuzzFeed, Photo Exclusive: When George Romney Met Saul Alinsky, Jan. 24, 2012

Daily Kos, When Romney met Alinsky

New York Times, Full Transcript: Mitt Romney’s Speech Announcing Vote to Convict Trump, Feb. 5, 2020

Washington Post, Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith motivated him to vote for Trump’s removal from office, Feb. 5, 2020

Vox, Who is Saul Alinsky, and why does the right hate him so much? July 19. 2016

The Republican National Convention, comments from Ben Carson, July 19, 2016

The Internet Archive, Rules for Radicals, accessed July 19, 2016

New York Times, In Turmoil of ’68, Clinton Found a New Voice, Sept. 5, 2007

Living History, by Hillary Clinton, 2003

PolitiFact, What Ben Carson said about Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky and Lucifer, July 20, 2016

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In an attack on Mitt Romney’s father, post exaggerates link to Saul Alinsky and Satan

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