Mitt Romney, the failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee who, alongside running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), lost the election to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, is lecturing 2016 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump on how a Republican can win the White House.
“I think Donald Trump has said a number of things which are hurtful, and he has said they were childish in some respects, and I think will be potentially problematic either in a primary or in a general election if he were to become the nominee,” Romney said in a rare interview granted to former Obama strategist David Axelrod, according to The Hill newspaper.
Romney added that he thinks Trump will “have some challenges if he proceeds to the next stage” and that he thinks “to a degree” Trump’s comments and style “do” hurt the GOP as a whole.
While Romney previously predicted that Trump won’t win the nomination, his change of tone in this Axelrod interview seems to indicate he’s now entertaining the possibility of a nominee Donald Trump. Earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker–a now former 2016 GOP presidential candidate who dropped out of the race, and bashed Trump on his way out–noted that he believes Trump has a shot at winning the nomination now. Trump continues to absolutely dominate GOP presidential primary polling, in some cases doubling up second place candidates.
Romney lost the election in 2012 after winning the nomination against a fairly weak GOP primary field. He also lost in 2008, failing to win the nomination against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Like Romney would four years later, McCain lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama. Even though Romney has lost every presidential election in which he’s ever competed, some Republicans still gravitate to him and his inner circle for political advice.
Earlier this cycle, Romney met with several candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)—the two leading establishment candidates vying for the nomination—in New Hampshire. In the interview with Axelrod, Romney spoke very highly of both Rubio and Bush.