Mitt Romney came back from obscurity to warn Americans about Donald Trump Thursday. The most-recent Republican nominee has been taking on Trump on Twitter throughout the race, but this time he opted for a higher-profile stage: the University of Utah. Romney billed the speech as the "state of the 2016 presidential race" and told this audience that Donald Trump is playing the American people.
"Dishonesty is Trump's hallmark," Romney said. "He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong, he spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong, he saw no such thing. He imagined it. His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader. His imagination must not be married to real power."
Romney continued by calling Trump a phony and a fraud: "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing the American public for suckers." Romney posted the entire remarks on Medium shortly after. Some more highlights:
- On Trump's business experience: "But wait, you say, isn't he a huge business success that knows what he's talking about? No he isn't. His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them. He inherited his business, he didn't create it. And what ever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there's Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage? A business genius he is not."
- On his lack of specifics: "Now not every policy Donald Trump has floated is bad. He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to bring jobs home from China and Japan. But his prescriptions to do these things are flimsy at best. At the last debate, all he could remember about his healthcare plan was to remove insurance boundaries between states."
- On national security: "Trump's bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS."
- On Trump's persona: "I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter's questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity."
There's a battle over the heart and soul of the Republican party going on right now, and the two sides are well symbolized by Mitt Romney vs. Donald Trump. A mild-mannered former Governor vs. a bombastic businessman with no political experience. The establishment vs. someone determined to blow up the rules of the game. Romney made it clear he has no intentions to run again or endorse a candidate. But he does want to be on the right side of history, as he sees it, when it comes to Trump's candidacy.
The Donald himself responded in typical fashion:
I am the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. I am not a Mitt Romney, who doesn't know how to win. Hillary wants no part of "Trump"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
Romney, who clearly had a change of heart since accepting Trump's endorsement in 2012, preempted Trump's innevitable response in the speech: "Watch how he responds to my speech today. Will he talk about our policy differences or will he attack me with every imaginable low road insult?"