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The VICE Guide to the 2016 Election

Mitt Romney Just Called Out Donald Trump, but Will Anyone Care?

The failed 2012 GOP nominee called Trump a "fraud," a bully, dishonest, and "very, very not smart." But Mitt Romney failed to say anything that hasn't been said 1,000 times before.

Mitt Romney explaining why Trump is bad. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Read: So Trump Makes You Want to Move to Canada, Eh? Some Advice from an American Already Living Here

On Thursday in Salt Lake City, failed 2012 GOP presidential nominee and Mad Men extra Mitt Romney delivered a much-hyped speech during which he became the lucky 1 millionth person to say that Republican front-runner Donald Trump was bad.

Romney began his remarks by doing something the current GOP candidates rarely do, pointing out that America is doing pretty well, all things considered. He even dropped a Warren Buffet quote that said, "The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history." After listing some threats to the US, including a nuclear North Korea and terrorism, Romney reiterated that "if we make the right choices, America's future will be better than our past."


The rest of the speech was devoted to explaining all the ways that Trump is the wrong choice, reasons that are by now familiar to anyone without a Make America Great Again hat. The mogul's economic policies, including a huge tax cut uncoupled from entitlement reform, would send the US into a recession; his foreign policies are basically just a list of war crimes; he seems like a racist, narcissistic boob who would continuously humiliate the country on the world stage. Then Romney, himself a scion of wealth whose massive fortune made him seem out of touch during the 2012 election, called Trump out for being a "fraud" and a "phony" whose past was littered with failures.

"His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them," Romney said. "And what ever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there's Trump magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage? A business genius he is not."

Other choice Romney insults included:

  • "Dishonesty is Trump's hallmark: He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong, he spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong, he saw no such thing. He imagined it. His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader. His imagination must not be married to real power."
  • "Think of Donald Trump's personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd-third grade theatrics."
  • "Donald Trump says he is very, very smart. I'm afraid when it comes to foreign politics, he is very, very not smart."

If you weren't a Trump supporter, these sorts of attacks may have seemed more grown-up and substantive than Ted Cruz's claims that Trump isn't a real conservative and Marco Rubio's juvenile jabs about the former reality star's penis size. But Trump fans are likely going to ignore this sort of rant; their favored would-be strongman shrugged off this entire speech in the course of a tweet before Romney even uttered a word:

Looks like two-time failed candidate Mitt Romney is going to be telling Republicans how to get elected. Not a good messenger!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)March 3, 2016

Romney praised the remaining non-Trump candidates, but he didn't endorse any of them. Instead, he called for Republicans to vote for whoever has "the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state." That desperate strategy, if it stopped Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates required for a nomination before the Republican National Convention, would presumably lead to a lot of horse-trading and conflict at the RNC, a battle that would be unprecedented in the current political era. Then again, as Romney noted, "the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign." What's one more oddity?