Romney, McCain: Trump a danger for America's future

SALT LAKE CITY -- In an extraordinary display of Republican chaos, the party's most recent presidential nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, lambasted current front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday, calling him unfit for office and a danger for the nation and the GOP.

See Full Article

"His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader," Romney declared. He called Trump "a phoney" who is "playing the American public for suckers," a man whose "imagination must not be married to real power."

Hours later, Trump lashed back, calling Romney "a choke artist" who lost to Barack Obama four years ago only because he was such a poor candidate.

The vicious feud marked a near-unprecedented scenario pitting the Republican Party's most prominent leaders, past and present, against each other as Democrats begin to unite around Hillary Clinton.

Underlying the clash is a bleak reality for panicking Republican officials: Beyond harsh words, there is little they see to stop Trump's march toward the presidential nomination. Party leaders are poring over complicated delegate math, outlining hazy scenarios for a contested national convention and even flirting with the idea of a third-party effort.

Romney confidant Ron Kaufman, a senior member of the Republican National Committee, openly embraced the possibility of a contested convention: "If that's the only way to stop Trump, it makes sense," he told The Associated Press.

In the most notable verbal attacks against Trump to date, Romney and his 2012 running mate, House Speaker Paul Ryan, urged voters in the strongest terms to shun the former reality television star for the good of country and party.

The GOP's 2008 nominee, Arizona Sen. McCain, joined in, raising "many concerns about Mr. Trump's uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues." That echoes the worries of dozens of leading conservative defence and foreign policy officials.

As Kaufman suggested, Romney embraced what might seem a long-shot approach to deny Trump the delegates necessary to secure the nomination, though he did not call on Republicans to unify behind a single alternative.

"Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, 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," Romney said.

Another idea rumbling through power corridors in Washington was the prospect of a late third-party candidate to represent more mainstream conservatives.

Kaufman said third-party talk may be swirling around Romney, but he laughed it off. "It's not happening," he said.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been approached by "a mixture of people" about being part of a third-party bid, said Jeff Miller, who managed Perry's failed GOP presidential campaign. But Miller said Perry found the idea "ludicrous."

Suggesting that Romney may continue to have 2016 ambitions of his own, Trump said the 2012 nominee had "chickened out" earlier when he understood he'd be going up against the billionaire businessman.

"He doesn't have what it takes to be president," Trump said at a Portland, Maine, rally. "I made so much more money than Mitt."

Romney's views are irrelevant, he said. "Look, Mitt is a failed candidate."

The back-and-forth came as the Republican candidates prepared for their first post-Super Tuesday debate, Thursday night in Detroit.

Four years ago, Romney and Trump stood side by side in Las Vegas, with Trump saying it was a "real honour and privilege" to endorse Romney's White House bid. Romney at the time praised Trump's ability to "understand how our economy works and to create jobs for the American people."

On Thursday, Trump said Romney "was begging me" for an endorsement that year.

"I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees," Trump said.

Earlier Thursday, in Utah, Romney assailed Trump's temperament, his business acumen and his ability to keep America safe.

"If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished," he said.

During his Capitol Hill press conference, Ryan dismissed comments Trump made this week that if the Wisconsin Republican didn't get along with him, Ryan would "pay a big price."

"I just laughed out loud," Ryan told reporters. "Sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction around here these days."

The speaker added that "conservatism is being disfigured" by some of Trump's ideas and statements.

Voters have not so far responded to such warnings.

Trump padded his delegate lead with victories in seven Super Tuesday contests, with Cruz claiming three states and Florida Sen. Rubio picking up his first victory of the 2016 race.

Still, the front-runner is not yet on track to claim the nomination before the party's national gathering in July, according to an Associated Press delegate count. He has won 46 per cent of the delegates awarded so far, and he would have to increase that to 51 per cent in the remaining primaries.

A win for Rubio on March 15 in his home state of Florida could raise questions about Trump's strength, as could a win for Kasich, Ohio's governor, on his home turf.

The GOP mayhem contrasts sharply with a clearer picture on the Democratic side, where Clinton is drawing broad support from voters and her party's leaders. Rival Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to keep up his fight, though his path to the nomination has become exceedingly narrow.

Peoples reported from Detroit. Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne in Detroit, David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Julie Pace, Kathleen Hennessey, Andrew Taylor, Julie Bykowicz, Stephen Ohlemacher, Alan Fram, and Donna Cassata contributed to this report from Washington.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • BP granted approval to start drilling off Nova Scotia's coast

    Canada News CBC News
    BP Canada has been given the green light to start drilling off Nova Scotia's coast. On Saturday, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) granted approval for the company to begin drilling one deepwater exploration well about 300 kilometres offshore. Source
  • 'Forever grateful': Meet the hero dog whose quick action saved his owner's life

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ottawa woman is crediting her dog with helping to save her life. “We knew he was smart right from the beginning but didn’t know he was intuitive,” Jane Lavergne told CTV Ottawa. Lavergne lives with a lung disease and uses an oxygen tank to help her breathe. Source
  • Shawn Mendes, Sting, Shaggy to perform at Queen's birthday

    World News CBC News
    Queen Elizabeth is marking her 92nd birthday with a Saturday night concert in London featuring British singers such as Sting, Tom Jones and Jamie Cullum. Kylie Minogue, Shaggy, Craig David and Canadian Shawn Mendes also are set to perform for the Queen's Birthday Party at Royal Albert Hall. Source
  • 2 evacuation orders near Oliver, B.C., force people from more than 180 properties

    Canada News CBC News
    Flooding has forced the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to order the evacuation of 33 properties Saturday, north of Oliver in the second evacuation order in 24 hours. This affects properties in the Sportsmens Bowl area. Friday about 150 properties were evacuated along Osoyoos Lake because of the potential of a landslide on Inkaneep Creek. Source
  • Good Samaritan injured while trying to stop mall theft dies

    Canada News CTV News
    An Edmonton man who was critically injured while trying to stop an alleged theft has died, according to family and friends. Witnesses to the alleged theft told CTV Edmonton on Tuesday that a young male was trying to steal a cash register from an unattended kiosk at an Edmonton mall when a man--later identified as 61-year-old Iain Armstrong--confronted the alleged perpetrator. Source
  • Obamas, Clintons attend Barbara Bush funeral today

    World News CBC News
    Several former U.S. presidents were among the 1,500 mourners expected to gather at a Houston church on Saturday for the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, who died on Tuesday at the age of 92. Source
  • 'New phase of misery' feared for Rohingya refugees during Bangladesh's monsoon season

    World News CBC News
    Aid workers tending to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are ramping up preparations in the weeks before the start of monsoon season, amid warnings that makeshift shelters in their Bangladesh camps could be destroyed by mudslides and flooding. Myanmar's panel of international advisers on issues concerning the Rohingya recently warned that the season, which begins in earnest in June and runs until October, could bring "enormous deaths," because the refugee camps are not built to withstand the…
  • 'Lean on each other': First responder at Broncos' crash says support helps in coping

    Canada News CBC News
    As hundreds of would-be volunteer firefighters gather in Nipawin, Sask., for training this weekend, Mitchell Lapchuk is going to hammer home a message he's learned from years of handling the stress of responding to disasters. Lapchuk, a volunteer firefighter in Balgonie, was among those who responded to the April 6 Humboldt Broncos' team bus crash. Source
  • After air accidents, survivors grapple with flying again

    World News CTV News
    Hundreds of hands grappling with oxygen masks. Flight attendants warning passengers to brace for impact. The plane hurtling toward the unforgiving ground. Survivors of air accidents often proclaim that their survival was a miracle. Source
  • 'Such a great person:' Funeral being held for assistant coach with Broncos

    Canada News CTV News
    STRASBOURG, Sask. -- Mark Cross was a ferocious competitor when he played hockey, but the assistant coach for the Humboldt Broncos had a calming presence on his players, teammates and friends. "Mark was an incredibly hard worker. Source