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Mitt Romney Eviscerates Donald Trump, But Will Anyone Care?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 3, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 3, 2016 |

In a speech today at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney laid into this year’s GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump, calling him an “improvident choice,” and a “phony and a fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers.”

The speech was delivered as a part of an effort by the Republican party to save itself from Donald Trump, who many in the establishment believe will not only lose badly to Hillary Clinton in a Presidential election, but could potentially ruin the party down-ticket, as well. With Trump as the nominee, 2016 could be for the Democrats what 2010 was for the Republicans.

Romney — who was endorsed by Donald Trump in 2012 (though, seemed to have held his nose while accepting said endorsement) — declared that Trump’s “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” that “a Trump nomination enables” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to win in November,” and that his domestic policies would lead to a “prolonged recession.”

“Wait wait what? But isn’t he a huge business success,” Romney asked the audience. “No, no he isn’t,” Romney said, before listing off a string of Trump’s business failures. Romney also criticized Trump’s beliefs on Muslims, his health care plan, and said that, “when it comes to foreign policy, he is very, very not smart.” He also referred to Trump’s scandals involving Megyn Kelly, a disabled reporter, and his past sexual infidelities. “Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark.”

“His imagination must not be married to real power.”

“There is plenty of evidence that Trump is a con man and a fake,” Romney said, before insisting that Trump release his tax returns, which Romney believes will expose Trump for the fraud he is. “If I am right, you’ll have all the proof you need that Trump is a phony, and attacking me won’t prove him any less of a phony. All he has to do is release his tax records.”

Of the remaining candidates, the only serious policy proposals that deal with the broad range of national challenges we confront have come from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich,” Romney said.

Romney did not officially make an endorsement of another candidate, and there doesn’t appear to be a clear alternative to Trump with a realistic shot at the nomination. Both Cruz and Rubio are badly trailing in the polls, and Romney’s likely preference, John Kasich, is a distant fourth.

There are suggestions, however, that Romney led a charge to boot Trump if it comes down to a brokered convention, and there was even a supposedly secret plan to replace Trump with Romney. There is also speculation that anti-Trump conservatives are planning a third-party option. In such a scenario, the third-party Republicans would put forth a candidate who wouldn’t necessarily be expected to win, but who — according to the editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol — would “simply be a one-time, emergency adjustment to the unfortunate circumstance (if it happens) of a Trump nomination … who “would support other Republicans running for Congress and other offices, and would allow voters to correct the temporary mistake (if they make it) of nominating Trump.”

It does not speak particularly well of the Republican party, however, that it’s had to rely on Romney — rather than the other candidates — to lead the charge against Trump. Romney was not a popular candidate in 2012 and it’s unlikely that many on the Republican side care about Romney’s opinions. Pro-Trump supporters are already lining up against Romney on social media, while Romney’s hatred of dogs is also being resurrected.

As for Trump “telling it like it is”? John Oliver disputed that in what has become Oliver’s most viral YouTube hit in a video that’s been seen over 16 million times now.

In fact, over the course of his speech, Romney repeated many of the charges against Trump that Oliver made in the video above.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney’s speech does guarantee, for better or worse, that Donald Trump dominates another news cycle, which seems to be the biggest problem that Hillary Clinton may face in the fall, should she be the Democratic nominee. The Times laid out Clinton’s strategy to defeat Trump in the fall, and where the news-cycle issue is concerned. they have plans to use Bill Clinton and, to some extent, President Obama to attack Trump, while Hillary remains above the fray. “Remaining above the fray” hasn’t worked particularly well for GOP candidates, so far, this season.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.