Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who lost two bids for the White House, in the 2008 primary and the 2012 face-off against President Obama, tore into Donald Trump in a widely anticipated broadcast presser aimed basically at doing the bidding of establishment-type Republicans to take down the billionaire businessman a peg in the polls.
Among Romney’s statements from a podium at the University of Utah in Salk Lake City:
“I’m not going to endorse a candidate today … [but] only offer perspective on nominating process.”
He then said: “I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time of choosing, one that will have profound consequences for our country” and underscored his belief that “America will remain as it is today, the envy of the world.”
But dark times loom, he suggested, if voters didn’t choose wisely.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have real problems – we do,” he said. “If we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past, and better than our present.”
And then he got to the point: “Let me put it very plainly: If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.”
Romney added Trump’s economic plan would “sink the country into depression,” launch a trade war, and “balloon the deficit,” he said.
He then said: “But you say wait, wait, wait, isn’t he a huge business success, doesn’t he know what he’s talking about? No, he isn’t and no he doesn’t. His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them.”
Romney referred to Trump Airlines, Trump University, Trump Steaks and a host of other Trump business ventures, and asked: Where are they now?
“A business genius, he is not,” Romney said.
See video below of Romney praising Trump after the real-estate mogul endorsed him for president in 2012:
Then – and despite his opening lines’ claim he wasn’t in Utah to endorse a candidate – Romney offered an endorsement of sorts – for anybody but Trump. He named contenders Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Gov. John Kasich, and said “one of those men should be our nominee.”
Romney then spoke of Trump’s foreign-policy statements, which he called “bombast” that was “alarming our allies,” and said the billionaire’s “insulting [of] all Muslims will keep many of them from engaging with us in their fight against terrorists.”
He mocked Trump’s mantra to use ISIS to “take out [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” calling it “recklessness in the extreme,” and then summarized: “Now Donald Trump tells us he is very, very smart. I’m afraid when it comes to foreign policy, he is very, very not smart.”
Romney then smacked Trump as lacking the proper “temperament to be president” and called him untrustworthy.
“Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” Romney said.
Other slurs hurled at Trump: Romney called him a “bully,” misogynist, and accused him of “absurd third-grade theatrics,” before adding: “Imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does.”
He then said “a Trump nomination enables” Hillary Clinton to take over the White House.
Once again, Romney also called for Trump to release his tax returns, saying the billionaire businessman’s forms would probably reveal he’s not donated anything to veterans’ causes of charities for the disabled.
“He has too much to hide,” Romney said.
And then Romney went into this dramatic conclusion: “This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss. 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 the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
His finish: “This is a time of choosing. God bless us to choose a nominee who would make that vision a reality.”