LAS VEGAS (AP) – In a surprise twist, Donald Trump planned to endorse Mitt Romney–not Newt Gingrich–for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, three Republican officials told The Associated Press. Gingrich’s camp had been so confident of winning the endorsement that it had leaked that Trump would support the former House speaker.
Trump was set to make the announcement in Las Vegas at the luxury hotel bearing his name, with Romney in attendance. Nevada holds its presidential caucuses on Saturday.
The GOP officials requested anonymity to speak ahead of Trump’s announcement.
Gingrich’s camp was so confident of Trump’s endorsement that those close to the former House speaker confirmed it Wednesday night for news organizations, including the AP. One of those officials said Trump had “sent signals” to Gingrich that he would support him. That individual declined Thursday to elaborate on what those signals were.
On a tour of a Las Vegas manufacturing facility Thursday, Gingrich made clear he wasn’t getting Trump’s backing.
“No,” the former House speaker replied when asked if he was expecting Trump’s endorsement. He added that he was amazed at the attention Trump was getting.
The real estate mogul and reality TV show host is known for being unpredictable and the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the planned endorsement almost seemed designed to gin up interest in the event.
Read more at The Associated Press