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

  • Authorities make final arrest in U.S. border agent's killing

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX - Authorities in Mexico have arrested the final of seven defendants accused in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose death exposed a bungled federal gun operation, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Source
  • Alleged victims sue man awarded millions after acquittal in B.C. sex-assault case

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man who spent 27 years wrongfully imprisoned for sexual assault is being sued by five alleged victims who say he doesn't deserve the millions of dollars he was awarded as compensation. Source
  • Don Iveson projected to win a second term as Edmonton mayor

    Canada News CBC News
    Don Iveson handily won a second term as Edmonton mayor Monday, while two incumbent councillors appeared to be in fights for their seats. Coun. Dave Loken is in a battle with Jon Dziadyk for his Ward 3 seat and Coun. Source
  • After escaping Myanmar violence, Rohingya refugees face hunger, disease

    World News CTV News
    In less than a month, a seemingly endless sea of tents on the Bangladesh border has become home for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees. Members of the Muslim minority group who managed to escape persecution and death as the Myanmar army burned down their villages are now facing hunger and disease. Source
  • Exclusive: Leanne Nicolle goes public with Marcel Aubut harassment allegations

    Canada News CTV News
    A woman who accused former Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut of harassment has revealed her identity in an exclusive interview with CTV News Chief Anchor Lisa LaFlamme. Leanne Nicolle, the former executive director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation, says that Aubut’s alleged harassment “shattered” her self-esteem. Source
  • Woman put toddlers in oven, turned it on: Warrant

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA — A warrant says an Atlanta woman put her two young sons in an oven and turned it on. Local media reported Monday that the warrant charging Lamora Williams with murder in the deaths of 1-year-old son Ja’Karter Penn and 2-year-old Ke-Yaunte Penn says she put them in the oven sometime between midnight Thursday and 11 p.m. Source
  • China's Xi looks to extend power at Communist Party congress

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Having bested his rivals, Chinese President Xi Jinping is primed to consolidate his already considerable power as the ruling Communist Party begins its twice-a-decade national congress on Wednesday. From meetings largely cloaked in secrecy, powerful players will emerge publicly in new roles, and Xi will address the nation to lay out his political and economic vision for the world's second-largest economy over the next five years. Source
  • U.S. Sen. John McCain receives Liberty Medal from Joe Biden

    World News CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- When U.S. Sen. John McCain was a younger man, once or twice he was tasked with carrying Joe Biden's luggage. On Monday, after Biden, the former U.S. vice-president, awarded McCain with the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal, McCain was sure to let everyone know he hadn't forgotten. Source
  • Weinstein paid Clinton bills during Lewinisky sex scandal

    World News Toronto Sun
    Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped pay former President Bill Clinton’s legal bills during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that nearly torpedoed his presidency. Weinstein, 65, is currently embroiled in his own sex scandal as scores of Hollywood heavyweights come forward about the cinema czar’s alleged propensity for sexual harassment — and worse. Source
  • Joshua Boyle explains why he and his wife had kids while held hostage

    World News CBC News
    Joshua Boyle said Monday he and his wife decided to have children even while held hostage in Afghanistan because they always planned to have a big family and decided, "Hey, let's make the best of this and at least go home with a larger start on our dream family. Source