'Fake' May Not Have Been the Best Word for Romney to Hurl at Trump

Friday, March 4, 2016

As he was speaking yesterday morning in Utah, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney must have known he was not the best one to deliver the message that Donald Trump is “a fake,” and that a “business genius he is not.”

He must have known every reporter would dig up what he’d said in February, 2012, when Trump endorsed him for President, which was, one, “I’m so honored and pleased to have his (Trump’s) endorsement,” and, two, “I spent my life in the private sector. Not quite as successful as this guy (Trump), but successful none the less.”

Why did Romney give that speech?  My guess he could not help himself: he could no longer contain his disgust for Trump.  Of course, everything he said about Trump was dead-on accurate.

“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee,” Romney said, “the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.” Check.

“If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented,” he said, “the country would sink into prolonged recession.” Check.

“Mr. Trump’s bombast,” he said, “is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies.”  Check.

“I’m afraid,” he said, “that when it comes to foreign policy he (Trump) is very, very not smart.” Check.

Romney’s attack was hardly a political masterstroke.

He did not endorse any other Republican candidate.  His core message was unrealistic and rather strange: I think he was suggesting that the three men still in the race besides Trump should collude in taking turns winning the various upcoming primaries.

“Given the current delegate selection process…,” he said, “I’d vote for Marco Rubio in Florida and for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.”

That counsel aims to deny Trump a majority of delegates, apparently in the hope of creating a deadlocked convention.

There is no doubting Romney’s intellectual skills. He’s accomplished extraordinary things in his life and has raised a wonderful family with his wife Anne. By any measure – and dramatically so compared to Trump -- Romney is a thoroughly decent and compassionate human being.  But he was born lacking any particular talent for politics. 

While he certainly got better at politics since his first unsuccessful run for office against Ted Kennedy, there are many intangibles about the political arts that have always eluded him, and doubtless always will.

Within a couple of hours of Romney’s speech, the New York Times posted an editorial on its web site under this headline: “Mitt Romney Aims at Donald Trump, Hits GOP.” Check.

You may find the NYT editorial at:







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