As anticipated, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney capped off his Donald Trump fight with a blistering speech against the GOP front-runner. This attempted take down, which may arrive too late, was in the works, but also fueled by Trump’s Super Tuesday success. Romney’s approach was far more aggressive than any of Trump’s fellow candidates have been, so the timing may be right with the Fox News debate coming on Thursday evening.
Romney stands as a respected member of the GOP, which needed to take action before Trump triumphs tonight. Otherwise, who will be there to stop him? Ben Carson was never a debate threat and won’t even attend, John Kasich can’t attack anybody, and Fox News already kicked Rubio when he was down. That leaves Ted Cruz and moderator Megyn Kelly to handle Trump. Cruz can’t do it on his own, and although Kelly should have plenty of reason to not favor Trump, she’s visibly softening. She’s done complimenting Rubio, and she referred to Trump’s Super Tuesday speech as “presidential.” Will she go soft on Trump tonight or come out with guns blazing?
Romney’s not waiting for that answer. As a former party nominee speaking against a current candidate, Romney delivered an unprecedented attack at the University of Utah. He addressed Trump’s candidacy as a wealth of “misogyny and absurd third-grade theatrics.” Then Romney said what Rubio’s been saying all along:
“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”
Romney also urged Americans to consider that Trump wouldn’t only have a disastrous effect on the U.S., but he’ll also wreak havoc with his “very very not smart” foreign policy:
“Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less-than-noble purposes. He creates scapegoats in Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for the killing of innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters.”
Romney then reeled out Trump’s distaste for the first amendment, sketchy finances, phantom tax returns, multiple bankruptcy filings, and (allegedly) fraud-filled business dealings such as Trump University. He urged everyone to pay close attention to how Trump responds to this morning’s speech. And it won’t be long until that happens. If Trump doesn’t pop off on Twitter first, we’ll be hearing his rebuttal on MSNBC at 1:30 p.m. EST.
John McCain also joined Romney in condemning Trump with a statement:
“I share the concerns about Donald Trump that my friend and former Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, described in his speech today. I would also echo the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders.”
Here’s a chunk of Romney’s scathing speech. Trump will have a field day with his response, and tonight’s Fox News debate should be even more firey now.
P.S. Remember this magical moment when Trump endorsed Romney for president?