Mitt Romney’s Thursday anti-Trump address seemed to rely heavily on the talking points employed by donor-class favorite Sen. Marco Rubio.
In recent weeks, commentators have observed that Rubio’s campaign rhetoric has taken a markedly different tone. Some have suggested that the change in tone perhaps comes at the behest of his donors, who want Rubio to go on the attack against Trump.
In 2012, Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign squandered the financial investment of many Party donors. In 2016, Party donors have lined up behind their choice candidate, Marco Rubio. Yet– like 2012– despite donors’ considerable financial investment, Rubio’s campaign has crashed in the early state primaries. Rubio has not won a single primary state election to date.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller told Fox Business viewers that Romney’s injection into 2016 politics is an attempt to pay back those donors:
Mitt Romney ran a terrible presidential campaign in 2012 and he racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for donors, so he is paying them back now by running block and tackle for struggling candidate Marco Rubio… Mitt Romney is carrying water for his donors. Romney is textbook example of how not to run a presidential campaign… What burned Mitt Romney [was a] failure to connect with everyday working people who are struggling to get a pay raise… Mitt Romney and the donor class are determined to run that same failed playbook… [and] that is the Marco Rubio playbook. The Marco Rubio playbook is give donors what they want. What do donors want? They want mass immigration that drives down wages. So Mitt Romney is coming in to pay back donors he blew a few hundred million dollars in 2012.
Thus it is perhaps interesting that several of Rubio’s donor-approved talking points appeared to be mirrored in Mitt Romney’s address. Below are just some of the crafted talking points that were reflected in Governor Romney’s speech:
1) Trump isn’t a good businessman.
At Thursday’s address, Romney said: “What ever 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.”
Last week, Rubio said: “You ever heard of Trump Vodka? You have, well it isn’t around anymore. Or Trump Mattress? Or Trump Air? Or Trump Ice? Or Trump Water? Those are all businesses that are gone, but they were disasters. Trump Hot Air — yeah.”
Romney’s claim that Trump is not “a huge business success that knows what he’s talking about” is perhaps particularly bizarre considering the fact Romney said the exact opposite in 2012 after receiving Trump’s endorsement:
Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works to create jobs for the American people, he has done it here in Nevada, he’s done it across the country… I’ve spent my life in the private sector—not quite as successful as this guy [Trump]—but successful nonetheless– sufficiently successful to understand what it takes to get America to be the most attractive place in the world for innovators, entrepreneurs and business and job creators… I want to say thank you to Donald Trump.
2) Trump will start a trade war.
Romney said: “[Trump’s] proposed 35% tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war that would raise prices for consumers, kill export jobs, and lead entrepreneurs and businesses to flee America.”
At the 10th GOP debate, Rubio told Trump: “About the trade war — I don’t understand, because your ties and the clothes you make is made in Mexico and in China. So you’re gonna be starting a trade war against your own ties and your own suits.”
Again, this talking point represents a departure for Mitt Romney, who in 2012 said that there’s a silent trade war currently going on and the U.S. is losing. Romney said: “There’s one [i.e. a trade war] going on right now, which we don’t know about it. It’s a silent one. And they’re winning.”
3) Trump’s a con man.
Romney: “There are a number of people who claim that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake… Let me say that again. There’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake.”
“On the issue of con artists, that I won’t stop saying. Donald Trump is indeed a con artist,” Rubio said in a Fox News interview last week.
“I will never stop until we keep a con man from taking over the party of Reagan and the conservative movement,” Rubio said at an Oklahoma rally. “He’s a con man. He’s a con man. He’s a con man.”
4) Trump needs to release the transcript of his off-the-record discussion with the New York Times.
Romney called on Trump to release “the tape of his interview with the New York Times… I predict that he told the New York Times that his immigration talk is just that: talk… let us hear what he said behind closed doors to the New York Times.”
Rubio similarly said in a statement earlier this week: “Donald Trump should ask The New York Times to release the audio of his interview with him so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes about this issue that he has made the cornerstone of his campaign.”
5) Trump will lose to Hillary Clinton.
Romney said: “Polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton… a Trump nomination enables her victory.”
On Monday, Rubio said: “If Donald Trump is the nominee, then Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States… a vote for Donald Trump tomorrow is a vote for Hillary Clinton in November.”
6) Trump does not set a good example for our children.
Romney said that the Party nominees “bear the responsibility of being an example for our children and our grandchildren… now imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Will you welcome that?”
Before engaging in personal attacks against Trump, Rubio said: “I don’t do the personal attacks… it’s beneath the office that I’m seeking but also because I don’t want to embarrass my kids. My kids are watching this campaign. I don’t want to do things that will embarrass them now or in the future. I want to be an example to them.”
This statement came prior to Sen. Rubio’s questioning the size of Donald Trump’s anatomy last week.