Donald Trump Reacts to Mitt Romney’s Criticism of Him

March 3, 2016 Updated: September 11, 2017

In an extraordinary display of Republican chaos, the Party’s most recent presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, lambasted current front-runner Donald Trump on March 3, calling him unfit for office and a danger for the nation and for the GOP.

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

In a response to the criticism, Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Romney himself had led a failed campaign in 2012.

“He failed at his campaign, it was a horribly run campaign. Republicans didn’t even go out to vote,” Trump said.

Back in 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney when the former Massachusetts Governor ran for president against Barack Obama.

In the “Morning Joe” interview Trump said that Romney had begged him for the endorsement then continued to criticize the way Romney had run his campaign. Romney then retorted by tweeting that he regretted accepting Trump’s endorsement.

“He ran one of the worst campaigns, as you know, in presidential history. That was an election that should have been won by the Republicans. He was a catastrophy,” Trump said.

The war of words between the two underscores how divisive this year’s presidential campaign has become for the Republican Party.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a speech on the state of the Republican party at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on the campus of the University of Utah, in Salt Lake Cit on March 3, 2016. ( George Frey/Getty Images)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a speech on the state of the Republican party at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on the campus of the University of Utah, in Salt Lake Cit on March 3, 2016. ( George Frey/Getty Images)

With the prospect of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee for president becoming more real, prominent Republicans, including Romney’s running mate and now House Speaker Paul Ryan, have increased their attacks against the front-runner.

Meanwhile, Republican Party leaders have been pouring over complicated delegate math, outlining hazy scenarios for a contested national convention and even flirting with the idea of a third-party effort.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.