Politics

Mitt Romney’s ‘Phony’ Speech And The GOP’s Lame Effort To Stop Trump

CREDIT: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

As Romney prepares to take a swing at Trump, the GOP presidential frontrunner is already counter-punching.

On Thursday, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will deliver a speech meant to stop Donald Trump’s march to the GOP presidential nomination before it’s too late. It almost certainly won’t work.

According to excerpts of the speech posted online, Romney will say Trump “is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”

That message would carry more weight if it wasn’t for the fact that Romney aggressively courted Trump’s then-coveted endorsement when he was running for president during the 2012 cycle, and it’s not like Trump has evolved a whole lot in the years since. Back in 2012, Romney declined opportunities to distance himself from Trump’s birtherism and had no qualms taking his money, as Trump was in the habit of pointing out on Twitter:

Trump was even invited to Romney’s election night party in Boston. He showed up but reportedly left early when it became clear Romney would lose.

As details about Romney’s anti-Trump speech circulated on social media, Trump responded by trying to define Romney as an establishment loser who choked away his chance to beat Obama despite having the benefit of his endorsement.

Romney’s speech aside, the establishment GOP lacks a real plan to stop Trump. As NBC reports, with winner-take-all primaries in delegate-rich Florida and Ohio looming in on March 15, there’s still time to another GOP presidential contender to rally past Trump and take the delegate lead. But the candidate currently in second, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), is possibly just as unpopular with the GOP establishment as Trump is, and the candidate probably most popular with the GOP rank-and-file, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), hasn’t been able to sustain momentum and is currently down big in his home state.

Some Wall Street financiers have launched an aggressive last-minute campaign to bring down Trump, but others — including, most notably, the Koch brothers — have now made the decision to sit out the GOP primary contest altogether.

One unnamed Wall Street exec who spoke to Politico anonymously said they declined a pitch to contribute to a new anti-Trump Super PAC.

“I think Trump is going to win [the nomination], and my concern is that anything we do now is just going to help Hillary Clinton win the general election,” they said.

In Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump has secured two of the three biggest endorsements of the race to date, and the one he didn’t get came from the governor of a state where he romped anyway. Romney, for his part, hasn’t endorsed a candidate and reportedly doesn’t plan to during his speech today.

Along the same lines, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has reportedly been saying he thinks his organization could work with Trump during a general election, with the RNC offering access to its voter data and field operations in exchange for Trump prioritizing partywide policy goals above overheated rhetoric.

In sum, Romney purports to speak for an “establishment” that isn’t unified and has been repeatedly rejected by GOP voters this primary season. It’s unclear whether there’s a single Trump supporter out there who would change their minds based on anything he might say. So while Romney rails against a man he embraced four years ago, other establishment Republicans are starting to line up behind the man who continues to look like the odds-on bet to be the GOP presidential nominee.