“He’s very, very not smart:” Mitt Romney on Donald Trump, in his own words

Donald Trump met yesterday with two-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney, a once-vicious critic of Trump’s, is reportedly being considered for the post of secretary of state.

“I had a wonderful evening with president-elect Trump,” Romney gushed to reporters after a posh dinner at a Trump hotel in Manhattan. “We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. I’ve enjoyed them very, very much.” He said that Trump is the “very man who can lead us to a better future.”

But the former Massachusetts governor had a very different view of Trump during the presidential race. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” he said during a speech in March. He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”

The change in Romney’s tune is drastic. Is it just opportunism, another example of Romney’s famous history of flip-flopping? Or is it something very different?

Romney is strongly disliked by Trump’s inner circle, notably by Newt Gingrich and Kellyanne Conway, who said that Trump’s voters would be “betrayed” if he picked Romney for his cabinet. Read generously, Romney’s current submission to the theater and criticism of Trump’s public vetting could be a personal sacrifice, designed to ensure that a voice of mainstream reason ends up advising Trump on national security.

If his March words are any indication, we know Romney does not trust Trump’s judgement. Here’s more from Romney’s Trump-bashing speech:

On Trump’s business acumen:

Look, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. And whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not.

On his temperament:

Now, I’m far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity…

He’s not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as a leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. The president of the United States has long been the leader of the free world…

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.

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