Earlier today, Mitt Romney gave a scathing speech in Utah about Republican presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump, calling the billionaire a “phony” and a “fraud” in an attempt to deflate his current momentum. Romney went on to blast Trump on his emotional appeal to uninformed, undereducated voters and their anger at the political establishment, stating:
‘This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss…He’s playing members of the American public for suckers.’
Trump, unsurprisingly, came out with all guns blazing shortly afterwards, delivering a rebuttal speech at a rally in Portland, Maine.
If you find the current implosion of the Republican Party just as entertaining as it is frightening, then grab the popcorn, because this drama has transformed into a surreal combination of farce and horror; a show that is guaranteed to have an impact on American politics for years to come.
Aside from throwing out hecklers in the crowd on 4 separate occasions, Trump went straight for the jugular with Romney’s attacks. The frontrunner unloaded on Romney for losing the race for President in 2012, calling the one-time Republican candidate against President Barack Obama a “choke-artist.” He further stated:
‘He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees’ — he would have dropped to his knees.
That was a race, I have to say, folks, that should have been won … I don’t know what happened to him. He disappeared. He disappeared. And I wasn’t happy about it, I’ll be honest, because I am not a fan of Barack Obama, because I backed Mitt Romney — I backed Mitt Romney. You can see how loyal he is.’
In response to Trump’s remarks about accepting his endorsement in 2012, Romney released a tweet, stating:
‘If Trump had said 4 years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement.’
Romney’s tweet here is fascinating, because it seems to confirm what many outside observers have long suspected: the Republican party elites and established heavyweights basically have no idea what is going on anymore, now that Trump is on a foreseeable path to the Republican nomination.
Romney just stated outright that he had no way of knowing that Trump would say the things he’s said to rile up Republican voters. In all fairness to former Governor Romney, who can blame him? Trump isn’t really a public figure known for his consistency.
And yet, there are many who have rightly contended that Trump is, in many ways, a “Frankenstein Monster” for the Republican Party; a diabolical creation that they are now going through many lengths to disavow, disown, and deny. Over the years, it has been people like Mitt Romney who have enabled figures like Trump. They’ve made them comfortable among the Republican party in an attempt to widen their base among potential voters. They’ve done this to help the party gain crucial victories, no matter how undesirable those voters might be for the party’s image.
Now that they have failed to use him to their advantage, he’s freed himself from the reins of the party and is no longer within their control. With episodes like today’s in the wider drama of the 2016 GOP debacle, there’s no way of knowing where it all is going to lead.