On Thursday, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thrashed current GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Romney called Trump dangerously unfit for office and advised Republicans to vote for the candidate who “has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.”
Trump responded by suggesting that Romney “would have dropped to his knees” and “was begging” for Trump’s 2012 endorsement.
Thursday’s clash between the two men is not the first.
In November 2012, during the immediate aftermath of Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama, Trump strongly condemned Romney — and the entire Republican Party — for “mean-spirited” attacks on illegal immigration and for a “maniacal” policy of self-deportation.
Just four years before making severe immigration restrictions the centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump suggested that hostility toward illegal immigrants partially cost Romney the presidency.
U.S. immigration policy must “take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country,” the 69-year-old billionaire told journalist Ronald Kessler.
“Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians,” Trump said in 2012.
Romney was particularly to blame, the real estate and casino mogul charged.
“He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump told Kessler. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote.”
Romney “lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country,” Trump declared.
In 2011, Trump suggested that the way to deal with America’s 15 million illegal immigrants is on a case-by-case basis. “You know, it’s hard to generalize,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly. “You’re going to have to look at the individual people.” He added that determining citizenship for 15 million people is “going to take a long time and a lot of people.” (RELATED: From Immigration To Guns To Abortion, Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Progressive History)
In his Thursday speech in Salt Lake City, Romney argued that “the only serious policy proposals that deal with a broad range of national challenges we confront today come from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.” (RELATED: Romney: Vote For ‘Whoever Has The Best Chance To Beat Trump In A Given State’)
In a response to Romney during a campaign stop in Portland, Maine, Trump insulted Romney as a loser. (Trump: Romney ‘Would Have Dropped To His Knees’ For 2012 Endorsement)