Mitt Romney delivered a blistering critique of Donald Trump on Thursday, and warned Americans what would come of the United States if he were to be elected.
Romney began by reminding Americans what Ronald Reagan said back in 1984—essentially that the country had come to a crossroads, and it was time to choose between two paths for America—one that embraced constitutional principles, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path.
“I’m not Ronald Reagan, and this is a different moment in time, but I believe … we face another time for choosing,” he said, adding that that decision will ultimately have profound consequences for the GOP and the future of the country.
He first discussed the bright future ahead of America and that it’s “poised to lead the world for another century.” Of course the nation has many problems and challenges it faces at home and abroad, he said, but if the right choices are made, America’s future will be better than the past and present.
If improvident choices are made, he warned, the prospects for a bright future are greatly diminished. And this is where he turned his attention to Donald Trump specifically.
The former Republican nominee laid into the real estate mogul’s economic and tax plans, combined with his refusal to reform entitlement spending. And while Trump has been thin on details, what he has told the country about his plans would be very bad for American workers, Romney said.
“Isn’t he a huge business success and doesn’t he know what he’s talking about?” Romney questioned, channeling what Trump supporters point to regarding his qualifications.
“No he isn’t, and no he doesn’t,” the former Massachusetts governor affirmed to a cheering crowd.
Trump didn’t build his business, it was inherited, Romney said. Moreover, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and he’s had many, many business failures (Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines, Trump University, Trump Mortgage, etc.).
“A business genius he is not,” he said.
More than these failures, however, Romney also noted what a disaster Trump would be on the world stage. He pointed, for example, to Trump’s recent “ridiculous and dangerous” statement on “60 Minutes” about ‘letting ISIS take out Assad and then we can pick up the remnants.’ “This,” Romney argued, “is wrecklessness in the extreme.”
“Now Trump tells us he is very, very smart,” Romney said. “I’m afraid when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.”
Trump also lacks the temperament to be president, he said, and “dishonesty is his hallmark.”
Former presidents of the United States have been tasked with the responsibility of being the leader of the free world. And all of them have been an example to our children and grandchildren, he said, before prompting the audience to think about Trump's personal qualities—bullying, greed, showing off, misogyny, absurd third grade theatrics—and if they’d want their children or grandchildren acting the way he does.
“Watch how he responds to my speech today,” he said. “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 and suitability to be president.”
Romney also called on Trump to release his tax returns and the tape of his off-the-record comments about his immigration plan in an interview with The New York Times. Only when these are released will the American public know if he’s a conman, a fake, or the real deal.
While Romney said at the outset of his speech that he was not endorsing anyone nor throwing his hat in the ring, he assured Americans the only seriously candidates are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.
“I know some people want this race to be over. They look at history and say a trend like Trump won’t be stopped. But the rules of political history have all been shredded during this campaign,” he said.
“Trump is a phony and a fraud. He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, all we get is a lousy hat,” Romney said.
Republicans must choose a candidate who will continue making America a shining city on a hill.
“God bless us to choose a nominee that will make that vision a reality,” he closed.
*The full text of his speech can be read here.