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Well-Known Phony Accuses Trump of Phoniness

Romney issued [1] his denunciation of Trump [2] earlier today:

“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said in a speech Thursday. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers.”

Romney’s speech contained all the criticisms one would expect, but the emphasis on Trump’s dishonesty and phoniness was remarkable because of the person giving the speech. I suppose no one would be more of an expert in phoniness and dishonesty than Romney, but there is also no one more ill-suited to criticize another politician for these flaws than he is. As I said earlier in the week, it’s fair to call Trump a fraud or a con artist, but almost no one has less credibility to make that accusation than Romney. The fact that Romney happily sought and received Trump’s endorsement just a few years ago just makes the denunciation today that much less meaningful.

Romney also took some shots at Clinton during the speech, and at one point said that “she jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power.” That would be a more powerful criticism if it came from someone who hadn’t spent at least seven years doing much the same thing before failing to win the election. One of the few constants in Romney’s presidential campaigns was the willingness to say or do almost anything to become nominee, and it didn’t matter how many supposedly deeply-held beliefs he had to cast aside in the process.

For those convinced that Romney is setting himself up to step in as a candidate at a contested convention, Coppins’ report will come as a surprise:

His reemergence has, predictably, set off a fresh wave of speculation about his own political intentions, and two former Romney advisers said they’ve heard from scores of donors and loyalists this week asking if he is positioning himself to be drafted from the convention floor. But Romney has been adamant in public that he has no interest in such an outcome, and is expected to keep pushing back against the speculation, believing that his anti-Trump message will be undermined if it’s viewed as advancing his own self-interest.

It won’t matter, since any “anti-Trump message” is made weaker when he is the one delivering it. If anti-Trump Republicans wanted to come up with the worst, most compromised messenger for their cause, they could scarcely have done better than Romney.

40 Comments (Open | Close)

40 Comments To "Well-Known Phony Accuses Trump of Phoniness"

#1 Comment By scottinnj On March 3, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

In a quick search of google there is one GOP figure who has a net favorability (favorable-unfavorable) of 30% – which is President George HW Bush aka “41”. He is probably the only one out there with credibility to make this case, though again it is probably too little too late.

Given the low regard most (rightly) held for Romney, you wonder if Romney would have done more damage to Trump if instead of denouncing him, he endorsed Trump.

#2 Comment By Majumder On March 3, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

Gov. Willard Mitten Romney is an adviser to one-term Florida Senator Marcos Rubios’s frantic campaign to dismantle businessman Donald J. Trump’s aspiration to the White House.

While Florida Sen. Rubios is miserably failing — in front of our eyes — to revive his failed bid to the White House this year, the only beneficiary of Gov. Willard Mitten Romney’s visceral attacks on businessman Donald J. Trump is Texas Senator Raphael Edward Cruz.

Texas Senator Cruz is rising in the polls and laughing out loud for businessman Trump’s inability to effectively counter-attack and nullify the Romney-Rubios ticket to the White House.

#3 Comment By Danny K. On March 3, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

Mitt Romney filed bankruptcy 17 times: “Seventeen of the 77 private-equity targets filed bankruptcy petitions”

[3]

#4 Comment By Ping Lin On March 3, 2016 @ 2:24 pm

Good grief. “Tone-deaf” does not even begin to cover what just happened here.

Attacking Trump for phoniness? Changing political stripes? Crony capitalism? Firing American workers?

I cannot think of a single living soul in the Republican party who has less standing to criticize Trump for these things than Mitt.

#5 Comment By Calvin On March 3, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

What a terrible messenger for this message. I’m a Democrat and I think Romney calling Trump a fraud is rich.

Romney put in a goodly amount of legwork and effort to get Trump’s endorsement of him, and stood up there smiling and claimed he was proud to have the businessman’s endorsement when it finally happened. Either he was lying then or he’s lying now – either way Romney is a liar and an opportunist, and if I were a Trump fan I’d wear his disapproval as a badge of honor.

#6 Comment By Calvin On March 3, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

HTML fail. That bold should’ve ended after “Democrat”. :-/

#7 Comment By todd On March 3, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

Trump is loving this,
The Donald’s list of people I WANT to attack me:

[1-3] Bush (any) √√√
[4] Obama √
[5] Hillary √
[6] Marco √
[7] The B at Fox √
[8] Anyone with a foreign sounding name √
[9] Gays √ (better if they are out)
[10] Kim something or other – need to find way to insult him, does Melani speak Korean ???
[11] Martin Shkreli – sure he’ll come around
[12] Kanye West – hmm, damn Kim’s ass is huuge – get name of plastic surgeon
[13] Hassan Rouhani – need to send him Trump vodka or something, check Iran export restrictions.
[14] Peña Nieto √ Ole
[15] Mitt Romney √ ha ha

#8 Comment By John Gruskos On March 3, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

Romney and the entire neocon establishment apparatus are furiously attacking Trump, explicitly because of his foreign policy views.

Tell me this, TAC: Why aren’t they also attacking Kasich?

A vote for Trump on Saturday March 5 might be the only chance you will ever have to use the ballot to change the direction of American foreign policy for the better.

If you live in Kansas, Kentucky, Maine or Louisiana, please remember to vote for Trump this Saturday.

Our attempts at regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and our disdain for cooperation with Russia, have strengthened Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other radical Sunni jihadist groups, led to the ethnic cleansing of Middle Eastern Christians, created a pretext for mass migration to Western Europe with disastrous consequences, and created a very real risk of a catastrophic Russo-American war.

Nothing will change unless we summon enough humility and moral courage to get our hands dirty in the real world of politics and vote for Donald Trump.

#9 Comment By Clint On March 3, 2016 @ 2:39 pm

Romney allowed Obama and the mainstream media to define him, while Trump fires back at his critics and slaps around the mainstream media.

This is a reason why Americans are attracted to Trump.

#10 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 3, 2016 @ 2:50 pm

The record since before Little Rock isn’t that the Clintons gave up their most profound beliefs in order to gain Presidential power, but that their ambition for Presidential power is their most profound belief.

Mr. Romney may be the bane of responsible capitalism, but he himself hasn’t lived according to any other practical principle except getting his “Mitts” on more, to the detriment of American employment, so he shares the dubious honor of being as true to himself as they, regardless of which insincere pragmatic statements all of them have made.

#11 Comment By Lee On March 3, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

Yup, the establishment clown car is about to backfire!

#12 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 3, 2016 @ 3:01 pm

It’s not much of an argument to make that we ought not to believe Trump’s promises to get rid of their influence, and therefore we ought to embrace them instead.

The greatest argument for Trump’s sincerity is that were it so that Trump is such an effective phoney, they would be for his role as an unusually good dissembler in keeping them in power.

#13 Comment By Clint On March 3, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

This badly timed and planned and counterproductive Romney anti-Trump attempt can play into Trump’s favor tonight at the debate.

#14 Comment By Steve Otto On March 3, 2016 @ 3:40 pm

the thing I like most about Trump is that he is not those other guys. [4]

#15 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 3, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

Mitt’s going bankrupt 17 times isn’t businesses that didn’t work out, it’s a cynical repeat strategy to squeeze all value to yourselves, then leave the husk with leveraged liabilities to be paid for in loss by someone else, unwitting unemployees left with their lives in ruin.

As financial raider Conrad Black put it, “A splendid conveyance of wealth transfer.”

#16 Comment By CJ On March 3, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

@ John Gruskos – Trump wants to bomb the hell out of ISIS and take their oil. He also wants to kill terrorist’s families. Not exactly a measured FP.

#17 Comment By Flavius On March 3, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

Dole, McCain, Romney, McConnell, Boehner, The Three Amigos, The Gang of Eight, Senseless wars, red lines in the sand, mountains of debt, broken borders, QE’s, savings devalued, insufferable condescension from the cities of the mighty, celebrity culture, Chicago gangbangers, Detroit, Obama, The Clintons…the wasteland within grows. They’re lucky it isn’t 1789. It wouldn’t be Trump. It would be people with pitchforks.

#18 Comment By Rossbach On March 3, 2016 @ 4:13 pm

When Gov. Romney said, “she [HRC] jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power”, to which profound beliefs did he refer?

#19 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 3, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

Good Lord.

This speech had all the dignity of a jilted actress accusing her rival of sleeping with the producer.

#20 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 3, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

One problem with Romney’s message–even if delivered by someone with more credibility than Mitt Romney (anyone would suffice there), is that it’s bound to fail–suckers don’t like being told they are suckers when the con is ongoing. Especially when the con artist is saying everything they want to hear.

On the policy side of things–after engaging in blistering attacks on Obamacare from the left, Trump released his health care plan today (or a broad outline–many details are missing), and it’s little more than the usual warmed over GOP talking points about how the real problem with healthcare in the US is that insurance and drug companies are being hamstrung by regulators. But I bet many of Trump’s supporters don’t notice, or don’t care.

#21 Comment By crf On March 3, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

What a let down. If you’re going to attack Trump, you have to fatally wound him, and the only sure way Romney might have done that is to have challenged him for the leadership. It also might have hurt Trump if Romney gave an endorsement to ONE candidate and encourages all the others to drop out. But Romney just called on Republican primary voters to choose any candidate other than Trump. This is not an enforceable line in the sand.

Scoldings from a failure like Romney are not going to harm Trump: they can only make him stronger.

#22 Comment By mojrim On March 3, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

What I find so vastly entertaining is the GOP establishment believed an attack on Trump from Romney would actually help. Mittens is possibly the man all blue collar and working voters, left or right, all agree on hating.

#23 Comment By Irony Abounds On March 3, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

“Nothing will change unless we summon enough humility and moral courage to get our hands dirty in the real world of politics and vote for Donald Trump.”

How ironic that people are implored to summon humility and moral courage to vote for someone completely lacking in either one.

#24 Comment By Danny K. On March 3, 2016 @ 5:35 pm

Zero Hedge has picked up on the 2012 Wall Street Journal story I’ve been harping on for months: Mitt Romney’s 17 bankruptcies:

[5]

#25 Comment By Jack On March 3, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

I think we have reached peak irony here. Is Romney delusional and obtuse? Does he not understand that rich greedy swine like him is the reason Trump is ascendant?

#26 Comment By collin On March 3, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

My problem with the whole Anti-Trump move is why didn’t they start in November when Ben Carson (even worse IMO) surge quickly disappeared. Now Trump has such a significant lead and there is no time to move for various attacks to stick. In November and December The candidates starting shooting each other and Trump continued gaining support outside of the Buchanan Republican wing.

To be honest, I am with Ross Douthat that Mitt Romney was a good man doing a good thing. But on March 3 two days after Super Tuesday victories, it was ineffective at best and judging by the reaction it helped Trump’s cause. Anyway, it appears Trump has taken the Fox News Primary so good luck stopping him now for the nomination.

#27 Comment By Foggy Top On March 3, 2016 @ 6:11 pm

It’s not just a pointless attack, it’s a gutless one. It’s no accident they drafted Romney – someone with a sketchy political past and no political future – to make this attack, rather than someone who has to answer to the people this year.

#28 Comment By Clint On March 3, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

Stephen Moore of he Cato Institute has now spoken up about the “disgrace” of Romney doing this to e Republican frontrunner and the predictable GOP Presidential Candidate, as well as Romney insulting the millions of Trump supporters as “suckers”.

Romney will eat his low rent smear.

#29 Comment By Gregory On March 3, 2016 @ 7:17 pm

What are the odds that Romney’s denouncement makes Trump more popular? The man has no principles except for worshiping at the altar of the almighty dollar, which in his view involves sucking the value from profitable firms that employ people and leaving someone else to clean his mess. What he espouses isn’t creative destruction, it’s just destruction.

@Fran Macadam

I find myself nodding just about every time you post. You have a great “bulls*** detector,” to borrow from Hemingway. This comment is incredibly accurate:

Mitt’s going bankrupt 17 times isn’t businesses that didn’t work out, it’s a cynical repeat strategy to squeeze all value to yourselves, then leave the husk with leveraged liabilities to be paid for in loss by someone else, unwitting unemployees left with their lives in ruin.

#30 Comment By Ben On March 3, 2016 @ 7:27 pm

“It won’t matter, since any “anti-Trump message” is made weaker when he is the one delivering it. If anti-Trump Republicans wanted to come up with the worst, most compromised messenger for their cause, they could scarcely have done better than Romney.”

Honestly though, what could be more obvious than this? Seriously. I’m seconds away from entertaining the idea that we’re living in the matrix and this is all just a goof. How freaking absurd.

#31 Comment By Jerry McKenzie On March 3, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

Romney didn’t think that 47% would turn out to be the Republican base. He has hoisted himself onto the saddle of the white horse to the blare of the Saints’ trumpets and fallen to the ground face first on the other side. I forecast the plop of a horse pie whilst he lays there.

#32 Comment By upper class twit On March 3, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

Another debate. Heart sinks, courage slackens, and suddenly, in the midst of life, I find myself in a dark wood of near-Dreheric gloom.

At which point I am consoled by the hope that another debate may bring a fresh batch of lethal Larisonian tweets.

#33 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 3, 2016 @ 8:56 pm

I was disappointed in the turnout for Gov. Romney when he ran. I think republicans should have girded up and voted.

But I am dismayed that the Gov. engaged in what was a disappointing event. His emphasis was far too spent on Mr. trump and not enough about the larger issue of taking on the democrats in November.

And it does not sit well that four years ago, Mr. Trump was moral enough to take his financial and public support and now is someone unworthy.

I have reserved still who I will vote for, but his choice to make that speech was a tough blow on my fondness for him.

#34 Comment By Montana Marvin On March 3, 2016 @ 11:46 pm

Mitt – what the heck are you still hanging around for? I thought us voters sent you home twice already!

#35 Comment By Fast jimmy On March 4, 2016 @ 12:16 am

Romney threw every dirty bit of nonsense he could muster at Trump, muddling the message with too much petty and inaccurate trash Trump doesn’t need to even dignify.

Shilling for the hapless and clueless establishment, he blathered on with his typical smarmy style and never once acknowledged the millions of voters he can dismiss as easily as the ” 47 percent “.

Agree with them or not, robbing them of their voice is a wildly offensive proposition. Romney couldn’t possibly care less. He was more prepared to kill indiscriminately than Trump, yet feels his careful style and grinning use of code words makes him beyond accountability.

The people using him realize that devaluing his position in the party and as a statesman is an insignificant loss. He is the avatar of an uninspiring, contemptuous and tone deaf establishment tool.

#36 Comment By delia ruhe On March 4, 2016 @ 1:21 am

Trump’s campaign is first and foremost a huge trashing of the party elite — the elite of both parties, actually. So he’s probably just delighted that Romney, the elite of the elite, took on the pointless task of publicly critiquing him.

Who Romney should be critiquing are his Republican colleagues, who are so intellectually and ethically bankrupt that the only candidates they could produce for this election are the party clowns and imbeciles. This is at least the second presidential election whose Republican candidates’ contribution was to provide fodder for the late night comics. If that’s the best the party can do, then it deserves Trump as the nominee.

#37 Comment By Richard Parker On March 4, 2016 @ 2:33 am

I listened to Romney’s speech this AM. I have since located my Pitchfork in the back of my garage. I have two, actually.

#38 Comment By Clint On March 4, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

Today, Romney is doubling down on his unprecedented attempted smear campaign against Trump.
The Establishment Elitist Romney is one more blatant example of why Trump is winning and why Romney lost.

#39 Comment By Glaivester On March 5, 2016 @ 8:32 am

One problem with Romney’s message–even if delivered by someone with more credibility than Mitt Romney (anyone would suffice there), is that it’s bound to fail–suckers don’t like being told they are suckers when the con is ongoing. Especially when the con artist is saying everything they want to hear.

We’re not suckers. It’s just – what is the alternative? I’m willing to give Cruz a go, but a lot of people find him off-putting. Rubio is a bigger a con-man than Trump (Gang of eight) and the Democrats are actively telling us they want to destroy the country.

#40 Comment By paradoctor On March 5, 2016 @ 8:57 pm

Everything that Romney said about Trump is true about Romney; and it’s also all true about Trump. Two for one!