Mitt vs. Trump. Trump wins.

Told ya so.

As promised, Mitt Romney speeched his big speech. He called out Trump for adopting hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies. He warned that a Trump nomination would both guarantee a victory for Hillary Clinton and/or an economic recession. He used big words like “improvident” and “vulgarity” to remind all of Trump’s voters exactly why they’re voting for Trump in the first place. He levied most, perhaps all, of the obvious criticisms of Trump that also happen to apply to himself.

He even tried his hand at being the least bit self-aware after his speech ended:

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Setting aside for the moment that Romney sought Trump’s endorsement and announced it in a high-profile, fawning media event — rather than having merely accepted it — Romney knew damn well how toxic Trump was at the time. This was the same Donald Trump who had been sued for refusing to rent to black people, called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five and spearheaded the patently racist birther movement. The latter was one of the reasons why Romney went to the lengths he did to get Trump’s stamp of approval: a sizeable chunk of Republican voters still don’t think President Obama is eligible to be president, and he needed them to come out and vote for him.

To be fair, Romney did include one incredibly spot-on prediction in his speech:

Watch how [Trump] responds to my speech today. Will he talk about our policy differences or will he attack me with every imaginable low road insult? This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability, and his suitability to be president.

Trump played right along, unable to pass on the opportunity to remind his supporters that he is the alpha male, and to remind the American commentariat why Freud still matters:

In case there’s any confusion over whether Trump was saying that Romney would have begged him or blown him for his endorsement, here’s the video for context:

The hyper-masculine sexual subtext throughout Trump’s campaign has been palpable. I’m amazed Trump made it through his entire speech today without calling Romney a cuckservative.

While Romney may have been completely correct in predicting that Trump would respond to him with little of substance, it isn’t like he didn’t have this coming. He really did debase himself for Trump’s endorsement, and it really is quite rich for Romney in particular to have laid into Trump the way he did this morning. There was little, if anything, that he could have said today that would have done any real damage to Donald Trump’s chances to win the nomination. But by repeating all of the establishment Republican critiques of Trump — things that Trump’s voters love about him and hate about Romney — he set himself up to get smacked down.

Again, I’m really not sure why he thought this was a good idea.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Outspoken1

    As if Romney did not walk the GOP party down this path during his two prior Presidency attempts!?!?!

  • TomL

    This has me thinking about the possibilities of a Trump Administration. The Cabinet would probably resemble the cast of Celebrity Apprentice.

  • Indeed. Both parties have a problem in that the “leadership” is out of touch with the base and the base resents that. The leadership often even shows downright contempt for the primary voters (Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for example). And neither party seems to have figured this out yet and adjusted. They still think they can ram anything down the throats of voters and they’ll just go along. And that is the reason both Sanders and Trump are doing so well. They aren’t completely parallel (in many ways not at all) but in that regard they represent the mood of voters.

  • Opinionated Cat Lover

    Trump is playing the Republican base like a finely tuned instrument. He may not believe, or implement, half of what he is saying, but he knows exactly what to say to get into office. And if he wins the Presidency? A feeding frenzy like no one has ever seen will begin as fat-cats pile towards the national treasure, forks and knives out, ready to feast…

  • sireasoning

    true… but then they get to be second graders and Trump would fit right in….

  • Grant Saw

    I think Romney believes Clinton will be president anyways, but knows that a Trump nomination will have pushed the republican party into farcical territory. Trump is pushing the party past the point-of-no-return line. Romney is just trying to save the party from itself. It’s an admirable attempt from a gop elder, and an important step away from absurdity and extremism seen in the party. Romney is attempting to bring civility back to the gop.

    I just think the attempt is futile. The gop Trump voters (a.k.a -the teaparty’s true face) want two revenges: one for being lied to by their own party and the second for not stopping Obama as their leaders promised. It’s a split party with some being xenophobic haters feeling duped, and those remaining who still believe in the system.

  • RepubAnon

    It worked to boost Trump’s brand as an outsider…

  • Based on my admittedly unscientific sampling of Facebook friends who appear to be Trump supporters, this blew up in Mittens face and how. The question is: who thought this would work?

  • Nicholas A Kocal

    Trump did nothing to Romney. Romney may be a loser but four years ago he beat Trump.

  • Baal

    A little to early to say if this will have any effect.

  • Butch1

    Trump won’t have to memorize the codes either. (how unfortunate.) It should be a qualifier for the presidency.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I taught first grade, and most of my students were more emotionally mature than Trump. The difference was they couldn’t possibly get control of nuclear weapons.

  • Silly Mittens. He thinks the Republican blood-gargling hordes (aka ‘their base’) can be reasoned with.

  • Exactly.

  • 2karmanot

    Mitty Poo slaps, The Dtrumpfenfuhrer kicks ass

  • iamlegion

    He used big words like “improvident” and “vulgarity” to remind all of Trump’s voters exactly why they’re voting for Trump in the first place.

    Yup – this right here. The overwhelming source of Trump’s base is uneducated, bigoted, _angry_, poor white trash. And that’s _exactly_ the demo that turned on Mitt the last time he ran. Neither he nor the GOP establishment comprehend that in the slightest, and it’s why Trump is going to be the nominee regardless of what the other Cool Kids want…

  • nicho

    I’m no Trump fan, but his response is pretty much what I would have done. Why waste time getting all wonky with Mittens? This is bare-knuckle politics. Mitt got into the ring thinking it was going to be Marquess of Queensbury rules. Big mistake.

  • FLL

    Very ineffectual attempt on the part of Mitt (and Rubio, for that matter) to stop Trump. Instead of being offended, Trump brushed aside any criticism by Romney and concentrated on trade imbalance and shipping American jobs to China, Mexico and other countries. Trump will certainly win the Florida and Ohio primaries, and therefore the nomination. His talent as a populist demagogue is undisputed. His speech starts at the 1:02:30 mark.

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