Mitt Romney attacked Donald Trump’s candidacy and the state of the 2016 presidential race in a speech at the University of Utah on Thursday, March 3.
The former Massachusetts governor was quick to dismiss allegations of a candidacy announcement or to endorse a candidate for the GOP nomination.
His speech was hosted by the U.’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. The speech was announced just one day ahead of time but attracted a full complement of national and local media. Students and others began lining up hours ahead of the speech. The event, held in one of the U.’s larger concert halls, was filled to capacity with more than 100 people unable to get in.
Romney didn’t mince words. He urged his audience to vote for “anyone besides Trump.”
“Now 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 said.
Trump, at a rally in Portland, Maine, quickly replied to Romney’s comments saying Romney is afraid of him.
Romney weighed in on the antics of leading Republican candidate Trump and his “reckless” plans for the future.
“The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the assertive third-grade theatrics,” Romney said.
Romney described the implementation of Trump’s plans as the final force that would lead the nation into “prolonged recession.”
Romney spoke of Trump’s shortcomings and predicted that there were more “bombshells” in his tax returns.
“If I’m right, you’ll have all the proof you need to know that Donald Trump is indeed a phony,” Romney said.
He described him as a trademark of dishonesty and encouraged audience members to pay attention to Trump’s response to Romney’s speech this morning to see if he would attack Romney with “low” responses.
Trump took to Twitter earlier in the morning after hearing that Romney would speak about his “phony” campaign by calling him a “failed candidate” who ran one of the “worst races.”
Romney continued, speaking to Trump supporters and those questioning Romney’s critical comments of Trump’s presidential plans.
“Wait, wait, wait, isn’t he a huge business success? Doesn’t he know what he is talking about? No, he isn’t, and no he doesn’t. He inherited his business. He didn’t create it,” he said.
Romney went on to describe some of Trump’s better policies but described his plans of execution as “flimsy at best.” He encouraged voters to put their trust in candidates that have more serious policy reformations that would be capable of making America more inviting to businesses and economic growth.
The 67-year-old former presidential candidate didn’t relegate all of his attacks to Trump. Romney also mentioned his concerns about Clinton as president.
Romney mentioned Trump’s enthusiasm about polls showing him in the lead, before saying that Clinton has regularly shown better match-up polling against Trump. Romney redoubled his attacks on Trump as an urgent message to bring about a different GOP candidate to take on Clinton.
Romney sympathized with voters who are eager for the end of the political race and “the rules of political history that have pretty much all been shredded.”
He offered his belief that if the other Republican candidates could “find some common ground” than the public would be able to elect a representative that could lead the nation to a promising future while upholding the “values of conservatism.”
Romney asked the audience to use past events as a sign for the future of the nation’s safety. “Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have, and it always injures our families and our country.”
Some in the crowd were let down at the news that Romney would not be running and many cheers went out saying, “We want Mitt.” There were also a handful of hecklers in the crowd who sporadically shouted out against Romney and called him “desperate,” “a fraud,” and “a phony.” One man even rose up shouting before being escorted out of the room.
Currently, Trump is leading in GOP delegates with 319. Cruz has 226 and Rubio has 110.