Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has slammed the current GOP front-runner Donald Trump as “a fraud” (video below).
The former governor called upon the business mogul to release his tax returns, predicting that there was a disqualifying bombshell in Trump’s records that would disillusion his supporters, CBS News reports.
On March 3, Romney staged a press conference at the University of Utah, but not to announce his candidacy in the 2016 GOP primary or to offer any endorsement.
Instead, the former nominee wanted to talk about Trump, who is on track to become the new standard-bearer for the Republican Party.
Romney appealed to Republican voters to recognize Trump as a “phony,” outlining how the business mogul’s economic proposals would create a U.S. recession and how his temperament was dangerous for the country.
“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” Romney said.
The former governor accused Trump of having a checkered business record, concluding that “a business genius he is not.”
Romney reserved his greatest scorn for Trump’s personal qualities, labeling the mogul a misogynist, bigot, a liar and unintelligent.
“Here’s what I know,” Romney surmised. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud… his promises are as worthless from Trump University.”
Trump University was a failed college; the business mogul is still entangled in a lawsuit filed by dissatisfied students.
“He’s playing the American public for suckers,” Romney continued. “He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”
The former nominee added that he is confident Trump would lose to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the general election. He suggested that if Republicans want to defeat her, they ought to vote for either Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida or Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.
Finally, Romney dared Trump to release his tax returns and sealed comments he had given to The New York Times. The former governor concluded that the business mogul would do no such thing because both sets of records would reveal him to be a fraud.
Trump has been hammering back at Romney on social media, blasting the former governor as someone “who doesn’t know how to win.”
“Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago,” Trump tweeted out.
The business mogul had endorsed Romney for the GOP nomination in February 2012. During the ceremony, both men were highly complimentary of each other, TIME reports.
“Mitt’s tough, he’s sharp, he’s smart,” Trump had said.
“Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works,” Romney said. “It means a great deal to me to have the endorsement of Mr. Trump.”
The former allies’ relationship has since soured. In addition to calling upon Trump to disclose his tax returns, Romney took to social media to blast the business mogul for hesitating to condemn former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, CNN reports.
“A disqualifying & disgusting response by [Trump] to the KKK,” Romney tweeted. “His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America.”