Mitt Romney has been on an anti-Trump tear this week—on Thursday, Romney and John McCain denounced Trump in terms that were unprecedented for previous party nominees, calling Trump a “fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers”; Romney has also called for the release of Trump’s tax audits, which is very funny.

According to the New York Times:

There is a growing prospect the Republican Party leadership could abandon its own nominee this fall, a once unthinkable scenario. Mr. Romney all but explicitly called for a messy convention floor battle, the likes of which neither party has witnessed in decades.

Romney was thrilled to receive Trump’s endorsement in 2012, however, something that Trump used to his advantage following Romney’s remarks; Trump pronounced at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine: “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees’ — he would have dropped to his knees.” He added: “He was begging. He was begging me.”

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In an interview with Today on Friday, Romney continued to escalate his attacks.

“I’ve wanted to be involved in the campaign, if you will, as a bit of a referee,” Romney told Matt Lauer. “But the time came when Donald Trump’s outrage had reached such a level that I had to speak out. You get to the point where your grandkids are gonna say to you, “Papa, what did you do to stop Donald Trump?” And I had to finally get out and speak.”

“You can’t have someone whose policies are so far from the views of my party become our nominee. And someone who has demonstrated over time that he doesn’t have the temperament or the personal qualities to be a great president.”

Lauer referred to Romney’s recent remarks panning Trump’s business acumen, then showed Romney a video of himself, four years ago, referring to Trump as a “successful” businessman who has “shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works.”

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Romney responded, “Oh, he’s a successful guy, he’s made a lot of money, but he’s far from a business genius. Look, Trump University, Trump Steaks, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vitamin Company—one after the other, failure after failure.”

“A lot has happened in the past year,” Romney continued. “Had I heard him say the things I’ve heard him say now, I wouldn’t have welcomed his endorsement.” He insisted that “there are a lot of folks who endorsed me who I would not want to see as president.”

When Lauer referenced Romney’s somewhat convoluted plan for a contested convention, he responded: “Well there’s no question that I will do everything within the normal political bounds to make sure that we don’t nominate Donald Trump.” Romney implied that by March 15, when the field narrows, he will endorse one of Trump’s competitors.

Lauer then asked multiple times—“I’m gonna be a little stubborn on this”—whether, “under any circumstances,” Romney would consider being “a part of this presidential race as a candidate.”

“There are no circumstances I can foresee where that would possibly happen,” Romney responded. Lauer pressed him again (“Just slam the door on it”); the indignant response: “I’m not running for president, and I won’t run for president.”


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

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Image via screenshot.