This morning, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney eviscerated Donald Trump, calling him a “phony,” a “fraud,” and said that his economic plans would be “very bad for American workers,” asking GOP primary voters to cast their ballot for someone else.
“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” Romney said.
Romney didn’t always think this way.
In 2012, Romney enthusiastically accepted Donald Trump’s endorsement and praised the real estate tycoon’s business acumen, which Romney said were better than his own.
“Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people. He’s done it here in Nevada; he’s done it across the country,” Romney said.
(Romney’s speech praising Trump starts at the 2 minute mark in the video above, and his full denunciation of Trump is provided below).
On the issue of free trade, Romney has taken a 180 degree turn, attacking Trump for wanting to start harmful “trade wars” with other countries, but in 2012, Romney explicitly praised Trump as one of the few people to understand how China was cheating America with currency manipulation to skew the trade balance.
“He understands that our economy is facing threats from abroad,” Romney said. “He’s one of the few people who stood up and said, you know what, China has been cheating—they’ve taken jobs from Americans, they haven’t played fair. We have to have a president who will stand up to cheaters.”
Romney’s 2012 candidacy was in many ways similar to Trump’s own; Romney had touted his business record as evidence that he could turn the American economy around just as he had saved failing business, yet in 2012 he said that Trump was a better businessman than himself.
“I spent my life in the private sector—not quite as successful as this guy—but successful nonetheless,” Romney said.