What can Mitt Romney possibly say today that will put a dent in Trump?

Mitt Romney is set to make a Very Serious Speech in Utah today about the “phony” and “fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers.” The speech is being billed as the Republican establishment’s last best hope to put a serious rhetorical dent in Donald Trump before he blows Marco Rubio out of the water in Florida and locks up the Republican nomination.

He is not announcing a run of his own, nor is he endorsing any of the current Republican candidates.

Which leads one to wonder: What can Mitt Romney possibly say that will seriously damage the Bronzed Bomber?

Will the guy who refused to release his tax returns until late September of his election year — who even then only released one year of actual returns — call on Trump to make a similar show of transparency?

Donald Trump endorsing Mitt Romney in 2012, screenshot via YouTube

Donald Trump endorsing Mitt Romney in 2012, screenshot via YouTube

Will the guy who ran hard against Obamacare, a bill modeled after a law he himself championed at the state level in Massachusetts, accuse Donald Trump of being unprincipled on policy issues? After one of his top campaign aides in 2012 popularized the term “Etch-A-Sketch” in American politics?

Will the guy who insisted that negative five trillion plus “we’ll see” equaled a balanced budget say that Donald Trump doesn’t have a firm grasp of policymaking reality?

Will the guy whose immigration plan in 2012 was essentially to make life so difficult for brown people that they chose to leave on their own accuse Donald Trump of being a racist?

Will the patrician kazillionaire who described half the country as leeching takers who don’t want to better themselves accuse Donald Trump of being out of touch with the working man?

Will the guy who vigorously sought Donald Trump’s endorsement — knowing full well that Trump broke into Republican politics by championing a racist conspiracy theory — turn around and say that now, when he doesn’t need white nationalist votes, Donald Trump is not the kind of guy he’d want to have a beer with?

The answer to all of these questions is probably yes, which only prompts one followup:

What makes him think this will work?


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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  • Grant Saw

    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.

  • FLL

    Yup, that sums up Trump’s campaign up to this point, but he’s just pivoted to the populist theme of jobs/trade/don’t-ship-our-jobs-to-other-countries-like-china-and-mexico. Watch the video I linked to below of his brief speech today in Portland, Maine. I sense a genuine danger in his talent as a populist demagogue.

  • Answers: “Nothing” and “It won’t work.”

    Donald J Drumpf is the culimination of more than a generation of GOP ‘Southern Strategy’, of racist and xenophobic dog-whistling gradually becoming louder and dropping inexorably into the range of human hearing.

    Nearly all the things the Republicans used to merely hint at or promise to do in coded weasel-word language, the would-be Drumpfenfuhrer has made explicit, giving absolutely horrible people total permission to be the horrible people, in public, they’ve wanted to be their entire lives.

    Want to paint an entire country or religion with the kinds of stereotypes which went out of fashion in the 1960s? Go right ahead. Want to physically assault those who disagree with you or who merely aren’t white or obviously Christian? Mr. Drumpf says to go right ahead. Don’t want to have to worry about what is and isn’t a war crime under U.S. and international laws, assuming of course it’s always Americans doing the war-criming and ‘others’ at the receiving end of it? President Drumpf vows to make it happen.

    Drumpf is tapping into the roughly 1 out of 5 Americans who are the worst: Ignorant and proud of it. Unapologetically racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic and/or any other form of bigoted. And most of all, filled with inchoate rage for reasons barely understood…but just like other fascist dictators 80 years ago, Mr. Drumpf is pointing at others and insisting, “It’s not your fault your life is shit. It’s not the fault of billionaires like me. It’s that guy and his family over there, the ones who look, talk, and believe differently than you. Go get ’em!”

    We should never assume a man like this cannot be elected. Due to GOP voter suppression measures, what is sure to be Brownshirt-style voter intimidation from Drumpf supporters, and already historically low voter turnout in America, he could very well be elected.

    Once. Which will be all he needs.

  • FLL

    Do not take beating Trump for granted. Yes, the polls show both Bernie and Hillary beating Trump in the general election, but Trump has now apparently decided that he can drop the white nationalist dog whistles (since he knows he’s already got them on board). In his speech today in Portland, Maine, Trump has pivoted to 100% trade and jobs. He’s going to be hammering away about trade and jobs 24/7. Very shrewd. The establishment Republicans have been completely culpable in shipping American josbs overseas for the benefit of the 1%. Do you doubt his talent as a populist demagogue? Then listen to his brief speech in Maine, which starts at the 1:02:30 mark:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o_sd20LhDs

  • 2karmanot

    A battle of the Wonder Breads……….Trump has the bigger garage.

  • nicho

    It must be pretty devastating for party leaders — such as they are and what there are of them — to decide they needed to bring out the big guns to battle trump and to realize that the only gun they had left is Romney. Holy shit.

  • goulo

    That was a pretty darkly humorous post! :)

    If I didn’t feel like the US was repeating Germany in the 1930s, this would all be much funnier. :/

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