Mitt Romney is "a coward" who keeps nipping at Donald Trump's heels because Romney and his supporters are "sore losers," a Trump campaign adviser said.
Paul Manafort, a senior adviser to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, made the comments during a June 12 appearance on CNN.
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has emerged as one of the right's most persistent Trump critics, and a leader of the "Never Trump" movement that sought to deny the real estate tycoon the party's nomination. Romney and like-minded Republicans argue that the reality TV star-turned-politician doesn't represent Republican values and is doing long-term damage to the party with his rhetoric.
"I find this so troubling, and I know a lot of folks are saying, 'Mitt just get off your high horse on this and get behind the guy,'" Romney told CNN in a June 11 interview. "But these things are personal. I love this country. I love the founders. I love what this country is built upon and its values and seeing this is breaking my heart."
Romney made the comments after hosting his annual "donor retreat" in Utah with longtime supporters. During the event, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman compared Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, sources who were there told Reuters. Whitman has been a long-time GOP donor and Romney supporter who has also emerged as one of Trump's most frequent critics on the right.
Trump's senior staff took their cues in criticizing Romney from the candidate himself, who ripped into the former Massachusetts governor with a tweet on June 11.
"Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog," Trump tweeted. "Now he calls me racist-but I am least racist person there is."
Manafort echoed his boss's comments, saying Romney is jealous of Trump's success.
“They’re just sore losers,” Manafort told ABC, per the Inquisitr. “You know [Mitt] Romney wanted to run, chose not to. Romney is not one to criticize and Donald Trump, who has tapped into an angst in America, has got a campaign strategy and is running a campaign that’s focusing on people.”