The Cable

Donald Trump: Romney Would Have Dropped to His Knees for My Endorsement

Donald Trump said Mitt Romney would have dropped to his knees for his endorsement.

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Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney predicted 2016 GOP front-runner Donald Trump would respond to efforts to derail his nomination with “low road” insults. Speaking Thursday afternoon in Maine, Trump proved him right.

Trump called Romney a “choke artist” for losing the 2012 election to President Barack Obama. He accused Romney of disappearing on the campaign trail to plan to build a home in California. Trump also dismissed Romney’s business acumen, and said Jeb Bush pressured the former money manager and Massachusetts governor to stay out of the 2016 presidential race. And he called Romney “a failed candidate. He failed horribly.”

Romney “was begging for my endorsement” in 2012, Trump said. “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees,’ and he would have dropped to his knees. He was begging. True. He was begging me.”

Trump also hit back against Romney’s criticism that the billionaire real estate magnate’s economic policies — he’s vowed to scrap trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact covering 40 percent of the world’s economy — would lead to trade wars. Trump doubled down on his promise to raise tariffs on goods coming into the United States from China and punish American companies that move jobs overseas.

Trump’s appearance in Maine, which has its caucus this coming Saturday, was typical of his upstart campaign. He spoke seemingly off-the-cuff, rambling from topic to topic, including an argument that former California governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger would not be able to fill his shoes as host of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” He said Maine was bigger than New England, despite the fact that Maine is in New England. He praised cops and veterans, and promised anew to build a wall along the Mexican border to stem illegal immigration. He was also interrupted five times by protesters, dismissing them with a familiar phrase: “Get him out.”

And as he often does, Trump played fast-and-loose with facts. He said his book, “The Art of the Deal” is the best-selling business book of all time; it’s not. He said the United States was losing $500 billion a year to China; the U.S. trade deficit with Beijing is $366 billion. He said Trump University, his defunct for-profit school in the midst of a civil suit over $40 million in alleged fraud, had an ”A from the Better Business Bureau.” Its grade fluctuated between A+ and a D-.

But none of that mattered to Trump’s supporters, who cheered him at every turn. And it served as yet another reminder than condemnation from mainstream Republicans would do little to deter Trump, who pointed out — correctly — that he still leads in nearly every GOP national poll.

“This is not a plateau,” he said of his candidacy. “This is a movement.”

Photo Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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