As per our preview (see below) of Mitt Romney's 11:30am speech from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, in a few moments Mitt Romney will unleash fire and brimstone on the frontrunning republican candidate, accusing Donald Trump of being "a phony and a fraud", in the clearest indication yet of just how panicked the establishment is. Watch the speech live below, while keeping an eye on Trump's own twitter comments annotating Romney's speech with what is certain to be very colorful language.
And elsewhere, as Trump continues his counteroffensive against Romney, here is trump telling MSNBC's Morning Joe how Romney "begged me for endorsement." How things change.
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While the GOP establishment already hit peak panic following Trump's Super Tuesday rout, it is about to "rise above" said peak based on an advance transcript of the speech that Mitt Romney will deliver later on Thursday to the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah according, in which he will declare that "Donald 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."
The two republicans seen in better times.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, and the 2012 failed Republican presidential nominee, will say that Trump as U.S. president would damage the country at home and abroad. "His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgement to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill."
"On Hillary Clinton's watch at the State Department, America's interests were diminished in every corner of the world. She compromised our national secrets, dissembled to the families of the slain, and jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power," Romney says. He also says, "A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president. But a Trump nomination enables her victory."
According to Bloomberg, the criticism marks the bluntest attempt so far by the Republican establishment to slow Trump’s momentum after his victories on Tuesday in the single biggest day of voting in the Republican race. Of 15 U.S. states that have held nominating contests to date, Trump has won 10 and has 46 percent of the delegates awarded so far.
What is surprising is that the sharp attack comes at a time when some of the core GOP establishment have shown signs of relenting and warming to Trump; as reported last night, the Koch brothers said they have "no plans to get involved in the primary." This follows another mega-donor, Rupert Murdoch's call to "unify the party" as Trump tries to make peace with the "establishment." Others have joined inL "I like the fact that he knows how to negotiate. We’ve had seven, eight years of somebody who doesn’t know how to negotiate,“ said Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who faces a challenging re-election bid in a state won twice by Barack Obama.
Still, others are not giving up, and after Trump’s Super Tuesday wins this week, a pair of super-PACs that oppose him stepped up their advertising efforts as Republicans wrestled with whether and how to stop Trump at this late stage of the nominating process, and which alternative candidate to unite behind. The ads targeted the billionaire’s Trump University as a “scam” duping “victims.”
To be sure, Trump was quick to respond, and put out a preemptive tweet strike at Romney Thursday. "Failed Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is having a news conference tomorrow to criticize me. Just another desperate move by the man who should have easily beaten Barrack Obama," Trump tweeted, spelling the president's name wrong.
Failed candidate Mitt Romney,who ran one of the worst races in presidential history,is working with the establishment to bury a big "R" win!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
Trump also tweeted, "I have brought millions of people into the Republican Party, while the Dems are going down. Establishment wants to kill this movement!"
What's more, said Trump:
I am the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. I am not a Mitt Romney, who doesn't know how to win. Hillary wants no part of "Trump"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
Why did Mitt Romney BEG me for my endorsement four years ago?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
In addition, Trump posted an attack video on his Facebook page Wednesday targeting Romney, showing the former Massachusetts governor flip-flopping on issues such as immigration, health care, abortion, the TARP bailouts and global warming, notes CBS New York.
Expect more fireworks later today during Romney's speech, whose highlight will be the live-tweeted annotations by the man who Paddy Power has already decided will be the Republican nominee.