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

  • Four tornadoes touch down in Saskatchewan, another two reported

    Canada News CTV News
    Environment Canada has confirmed that four tornadoes touched down in Saskatchewan on Friday. The tornadoes did not cause any damage, according to Environment Canada, but warnings were issued due to the surrounding storms. Another two tornadoes were reported, photographed and posted on social media. Source
  • Liberals punted on 1st down with $10.5M Omar Khadr settlement

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    When Peter Kent wrote the opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that tipped off sleeping Americans to the Omar Khadr payoff, he wrote not as a Conservative MP but as the journalist he once was. This is why it resonated so strongly, and suddenly became the top news item on many U.S. Source
  • U.S. kills 12 Afghan police in airstrike amid violent clashes with Taliban

    World News CBC News
    An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday. Source
  • U.S. airstrike kills 12 Afghan police officers

    World News Toronto Sun
    KABUL — An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday. Source
  • Sean Spicer thought 'SNL' skits were 'funny'

    World News Toronto Sun
    Soon to be ex-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admits he likes a good joke. In his first interview since he resigned from his post on Friday, Spicer told Fox News' Sean Hannity that Saturday Night Live's parody of him was humourous at times. Source
  • Venezuelans march in opposition to constitution rewrite

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Protesters marched through the Venezuelan capital toward the embattled nation's Supreme Court on Saturday, chanting and waving flags in an escalating push to stop President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution. Source
  • Lech Walesa urges Poles to defend democracy as Hungary's Orban blasts EU

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Polish democracy icon and former president Lech Walesa on Saturday joined the protests that have broken out across Poland over plans by the populist ruling party to put the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial system under the party's political control. Source
  • Some residents free to go home as B.C. evacuations orders are downgraded

    Canada News CBC News
    Many wildfire evacuees from Princeton, B.C., are being allowed back into town after an evacuation order was downgraded to an alert on Saturday morning. For some, it's been more than two weeks since they left home. Source
  • German girl who converted to Islam found working for ISIS in Iraq

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A German girl who ran away from home shortly after converting to Islam has been found as Iraqi forces liberated the northern city of Mosul from Islamic States forces, German and Iraqi officials said Saturday as authorities tried to figure out what to do with her. Source
  • Errant U.S. bombing kills 12 Afghan security forces: police

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday. Source